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Skanking Reggae Festival in LA highlights the power of diversity through music

Ricky Rodas, Managing Editor

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Ska and Reggae music find their roots in Jamaica, and pioneering artists such as Prince Buster and Bob Marley carried their respective musical styles into the global spotlight. Now, groups such as Japanese band Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Argentinean band Los, Caligaris, and Los Angeles natives Raskahuele blend both styles and continue the rich tradition their Jamaican predecessors created.

These bands and many more played at the 7th Annual Skanking Reggae Festival, which was held at the Shrine Auditorium on Sat., March 12. Raskahuele’s drummer Adrian Gonzalez founded the event in 2010 with the hopes of giving fellow Ska and Reggae lovers a venue to experience this global phenomenon.

“I love the music, and I have a lot of friends who play Reggae, Ska and I’m very interested in letting this [music festival] grow,” Gonzalez said. “ I would like to help everybody [musicians] to keep going to the studio, recording music, [and continue] promoting bands.”

Groups like Los Angeles band Casa de Calacas have benefitted from Gonzalez’s contributions to the culture, as they had the opportunity to play for excited fans at the festival. Like Gonzalez, the band is aiming to make their own mark in this music community. “Our music has been received well wherever we go… we do Ska, we do Reggae, but we do it our own way. We mix Latin rhythms like Cumbia, we might make a little Salsa [music] with some Ska,”Carlos Mora, lead singer and bassist, said.

Casa De Calacas have been touring around California, and have also played in Texas and even Mexico.  “When we played in Tijuana the first time we played a tattoo festival out there… and these are people that never heard our music [before],” Phillip Sanabria, trumpet player and back up vocalist, said. “As soon as we started playing, the pit [concert area] opened up and people started dancing, people started singing along.”

Sanabria attributes their success to constant practice, saying, “We practice a lot. Before when we started [touring] we practiced twice a week… we’ve been honing our craft, and it’s helped us to be received well.”

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Skanking Reggae Festival in LA highlights the power of diversity through music