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The nine-piece ska band Kingston Rudieska filter and fuse ska, jazz, reggae, dub and nyahbinghi through the Korean experience. The group has drawn rave and explosive responses from fans across Asia. Through their 100+ performances each year—including a handful of large headlining seasonal shows – they won ‘The Largest Attraction’ award at KT&G Sang Sang Ma Dang.
Although South Korea is about as far from Jamaica as a country could be, that hasn’t prevented authentic Jamaican music, namely ska and reggae, from reaching her shores. Korea’s first traditional ska band, Kingston Rudieska, has been paying respect to the roots since they began in 2004. The nine- piece band blends bluebeat ska, jazz, reggae, dub, and nyahbinghi chanting into a final product that is uniquely Korean; something the band has dubbed ‘Feast Ska’. Their shows mix foot-stomping instrumentals—fronted by a four-piece horn section – with warm, soulful vocal features sung by ‘Sugar’ Seok Yul Lee. Their performances are punctuated with a jammy, improv vibe as many of the members are trained jazz musicians. The music pays enormous respect to, ska pioneers, The Skatalites. It’s not uncommon, during a set, to hear an impromptu Skatalites cover kick off an improvisational jam to the delight of the crowd.
Over the past decade, they’ve come a long way from playing dingy basement clubs to appearing on some of the nation’s biggest stages, fostering a love of Jamaican rhythms to a nation still newly discovering the genre. They’ve appeared at nearly all of Korea’s major music festivals, including Jisan Valley Rock Festival, Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, Busan Rock Festival, Seoul Jazz Festival, Rainbow Island Music Festival, and Grand Mint Festival. Additionally, Kingston Rudieska has appeared on numerous televised music programs in Korea.
Kingston Rudieska has had the privilege of performing with many other talented musicians and bands. They’ve collaborated with popular Korean musicians Bobby Kim, YB, Younha, Yoon Hyung Joo,Yun jong sin and Sim Soo Bong. They’ve also shared the stage with Japanese bands such as Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Eskargot Miles, and Cool Wise Men, North American groups the Slackers and Chris Murray Combo, as well as Babylove and the van Dangos (Denmark),T-bone (Thailand),Babylon Circus(France), Dr. Ring Ding Ska Vaganza (Germany), and Skazz (Australia). Most recently, they recorded an EP with Jamaican music legend Dr. Ring Ding (Germany).
They recorded their first single in 2006, and since then they’ve released three full-length albums, not to mention one EP and a couple digital singles, and contributed a track to the United Colors of Ska 4.0 compilation on Pork Pie Records (Germany). Due to the expenses of traveling with a nine-piece band, Kingston Rudieska has little experience playing to overseas audiences. Although they toured the Philippines in 2012 and Japan in 2013 – at that time they contributed to the supergroup “Asia Unite” with Japanese bands Eskargot Miles, Frisco and Kingstompers – Kingston Rudieska are ready to spread their love of Jamaican music further around the world.
Kingston Rudieska have taken their next giant leap towards world ska domination with their latest double CD release, Everyday People. As evidenced by their previous albums, the band’s musicality and devotion to Jamaican styles has never been in doubt. But Everyday People shows a more grown up group intent on bringing new concepts to a classic genre. Undoubtedly, the most exciting aspect of this album is the production efforts of Brian Dixon of the ex Aggrolites. His old-school studio techniques and Gestalt approach to music has tapped into the sounds of classic Jamaican recordings and, somehow, old Korean psychedelic rock cuts as well. The result is a soulful, warm vibe. Everyday People is an example of how the right producer can elevate a band to a better version of themselves.