Archive for January 2013

Jamaican legend Owen Gray added to Studio One Cruise

We are delighted and honored to once again have one of the true foundation singers of Jamaica – Mr. Owen Gray performing at The London International Ska Festival. Owen has appeared at the last 2 years of our festival and is always superb. He will appear at our Studio One Thames Cruise along with BB Seaton of The Gaylads, Vin Gordon aka Don Drummond Jnr, DJ Chris Peckings (Peckings studio1) and more.

Owen was one of the first artists to record for Studio One so it seems only fitting he’s included on this bill.

This spectacular takes place aboard the beautiful Dixie Queen paddle steamer on Good Friday 29 March (12.30-4.30pm). You get to see London’s sights from it’s oldest vantage point… old father Thames and have Tower Bridge opened especially.

Kids are welcome to!! This is going to be a truly amazing and unforgettable tribute to one of the worlds finest labels.

Tickets available now at

Rico Rodriguez plays Man From Wareika

Day 1 of The London Intl Ska Festival 2013, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, kicks off with the legendary Jamaican trombonist, member of The Specials and Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra – Rico Rodriguez MBE performing his timeless and classic 1976 album Man From Wareika.

Originally released on Island Records Man From Wareika went onto be the only reggae album released on America’s famed Blue Note jazz label. After recording one track, “Africa”, in London with engineer Dick Cuthell, for label owner Chris Blackwell, Rodriguez was offered a contract to record the album in Jamaica. After 15 years Rodriguez returned home for the first time. The resulting nine self-composed tracks spawned sublime Jamaican roots rhythms and also helped to define a new genre, Jamaican Jazz. It bucked musical trends of the day and provided the world with one of the genres defining moments.

Rodriguez was born in Cuba and grew up in Jamaica, where he was mentored by his classmate and trombone master Don Drummond at The Alpha Boys School. He was soon recording for all the great Jamaican producers of the day; Prince Buster, Coxsonne Dodd, Duke Reid, Lee Perry, Vincent Chin and following his Rastafarian faith worked closely with rasta drummerCount Ossie. In 1961, he moved to the UK and became an In demand session player in not only reggae circles but also teamed up with Georgie Fame, playing in his Blue Flames band. Following critical acclaim for Man From Wareika Rico teamed up with The Specials in the late 70’s and went on to perform on many of their biggest hits, including A Message to You, Rudy,a track which he also played on the original Dandy Livingstone cut some years before.

In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for services to music, and in 2012 he received the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition of his contribution to Jamaican music. He still tours the world regularly as a solo artist and with Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. We are honoured and delighted to have Rico Rodriguez performing Man From Wareika for the first time in 35 years.

Support from London’s number one practitioners of rocksteady The Sidewalk Doctors, who will be showcasing their forthcoming album. Selecting the evenings soundtrack is world renowned author, journalist and DJ David Katz.

Tickets available now from
£18.50 + booking fee

Only 100 tickets left! Grab yours now and come celebrate this great mans career and classic album.

Announcing The London Intl Ska Festival UK Sound System Conference

Do not miss this historical event. Day 3 of The London Intl Ska Festival…


Sponsored by Reggae Vinyl Heaven
Saturday 30th March – 10pm-6am
The Sound System Room
Islington Metal Works, Torrens St, Islington N1
(behind Angel tube station)
Tickets: £12.50 adv (no booking fee) from

The London International Ska Festival 2013, in association with Tighten Up, celebrates the life and legacy of Duke Vin, the founding father of the UK Sound System movement. We have an awesome line-up of legendary selectors representing some of the UK’s greatest Sounds, spinning original vintage vinyl on the mighty Metal Works Sound System. Selecting on the night for your dancing pleasure will be Sound System legend Metro with Eddie Regal (Metro Downbeat) + Gladdy Wax (Gladdy Wax Sound System) + Ras Digby (Sir Jessus Sound System) + Jumbo (Java Hi-Power) + Tighten Up Crew featuring Deejay Champian (Jamdown Rockers).

Expect the hottest Ska through to the heaviest Roots via the coolest Rude Boy Rocksteady and Boss Reggae riddims! This event will be part of the living history of Jamaican music in the UK. DO NOT MISS!

Room 2 to be announced shortly.

Tickets available now at