80s Ska sensations Madness present a festival celebrating like-minded artists on London’s Clapham Common on 29th of August. The much loved pop band will be calling in favours from some of their most illustrious friends for the single day outdoor party. With Jamaican influences clearly evident in a lineup promoting dancehall, reggae, ska and more, we take a look at five artists that offer a reason to head to Clapham this August...
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Look back at the origins of dub and you’re unlikely not to come across Lee “Scratch” Perry, who took reggae tracks and introduced innovative production to modernise the genre with the addition of a generous helping of eccentricity. Turning the trend of Jamaican music from the frenetic style of ska into the languid saunter of “roots” reggae, Perry is undoubtedly a musical pioneer matched by only the tiniest group of innovators.
Toots & The Maytals
Gifted with voices that fit together as if cut from the same cloth, Toots and the Maytals made themselves one of ska’s best known vocal groups. Led by charismatic frontman Toots Hibbert, the band might have achieved less commercial success than The Wailers, but no doubt bridged the gap between Jamaican ska and American R&B as they contributed to the development of reggae from the 60s onwards.
Not a producer, David Rodigan is one of the rare breed of DJs to become famous purely for their selections, broadcasting reggae on Radio London in 1978 before taking up a permanent slot at Capital Radio and later spending 22 years at Kiss FM. An undisputed champion of reggae, dancehall and related genres.
We couldn’t not mention our hosts now could we? Madness were instrumental in the two-tone revival that took 1980s England by storm, the Camden band borrowing from Jamaica’s Ska heritage with their upbeat rhythms and setting them to quicker tempos with punk inflections. They also have an enviable contacts book, by the looks of it.
UK bass music wasn’t always the multi-faced beast that it is now, and many attribute its growth to this man. Enhancing sub frequencies to make basslines huge, Congo Natty and his peers created jungle and laid the foundations for drum and bass, dubstep and all their recent mutations. Laid-back Jamaican vibes weren’t in keeping with the escalating pace of London life, and jungle took the music of the Caribbean and transformed it into a UK sound.
House Of Common heads to Clapham Common, London Monday 29th August
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Lock N Load