Ska is the combination of mento, American Jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by the guitar hitting the 2nd, 3rdth beats and the drumbeat on the 2nd and 4th beat in (4/4 time). The music is energetic, fast passed and upbeat. Instruments in a ska band include piano, guitar, drums and various horns.
Ska is sometimes seen as accidental music. In the 1950's after World War II There was a heavy influx of American Jazz and Rhythm and Blues and Jamaicans clamored for it. As American R and B began to shift to rock n' roll Jamaicans were in desperate need for something else. When local producers such as Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd attempted to recreate the American R and B, it resulted in what is today known as ska.
The first Ska recordings were done at the legendary Studio One by Coxsone Dodd and WIRL (West Indies Recording Label) with many of earliest producers being Duke Reid, Prince Buster and Edward Seaga.
Some of the earliest ska artists include Cluet Johson, Owen Grey, Wilfred Edwards, The Skatalites. The Mellow Larks, The Magic Notes, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Desmond Dekker and The Maytals.
Coxsone Dodd is one of the most important figures in the history of ska. As Jamaica gained independence from Great Britain in the 1960's the need for musical identity arose with the changing of tide. Coxsone who was a disc jockey who began recording popular bands that became very popular in Jamaica.
Much of the lyrics in Ska recordings were influenced by the Jamaican rude boy culture. The emergence of this rude boy culture was a result of the harsh socio economic condition faced by many Jamaican youth.