Local Current Blog

Documentary ‘Legends of Ska’ to screen at Bryant-Lake Bowl

Skatalites trumpeter Johnny "Dizzy" Moore rehearsing for the Legends of Ska concerts in Toronto. Photo courtesy Legends of Ska.

The locally-made documentary Legends of Ska will be screened Sunday at the Bryant-Lake Bowl, one of a growing number of movies to be shown at the restaurant/bowling alley/theater.

Created by Minneapolis director Brad Klein, the film chronicles the history of the Jamaican art form and its roots in music culture — both in its native Jamaica and around the world.

“One of my goals is trying to show the world that there is more to Jamaican music than just Bob Marley,” Klein told MPR’s Euan Kerr.

Ska emerged in the early 1960s as Jamaica gained independence from Britain. Despite the fact that it only enjoyed a short heyday — about four years — the music is an important predecessor to reggae. “Ska is a mix of, like, American R&B and jazz for the most part,” Klein said. “And a lot of those original musicians, they were trained jazz musicians. A lot of it sounds really fresh, and to me it doesn’t sound dated.”

Discussing the film on The Current’s Morning Show, Euan added that the genre became a decades-long obsession for Klein, who assembled a group of ska’s first-wave artists for a concert in Toronto. Klein details this reunion in the film, which screened at McNally Smith College of Music last November as part of Sound Unseen festival.

Legends of Ska screens Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $8 in advance.

Hailey Colwell is a journalism major at the University of Minnesota and a co-director of Theatre Corrobora.