I still remember the first compilation of this kind. Skadanka was issued in 1999 by a mainstream music magazine of that time Machina. It’s a cult record for me and many others connected to the Polish ska scene. Two years later, the indie label Rock’n’Roller (which later transformed into Jimmy Jazz Records) released its own compilation Pol-SKA Norma. However, it had much less impact on me. Nevertheless, I have to admit that both records perfectly showed the unbridled and slightly defeatist energy of Polish ska bands active at the turn of the century. The powerful combination of all these silly lyrics, which sometimes dealt with quite serious topics, with fast and simple ska, was hard to ignore. There was no pretension, no complexes and unnecessary attempts at artistry, just a lot of genuine fun and youthful energy.
A lot has changed over the last twenty years. Nowadays, many new bands play on a level much closer to professional jazz ensembles rather than high school kids in a gym or garage. It’s safe to say there’s a renaissance of classic ska and rocksteady from the 60s. Moreover, the music taste of the Polish audience, which was excited by the said compilations in its teens, has also evolved. But have the bands from the Vistula region also become part of this trend? Is there still a place on the scene for a little bit crude sounds from two decades ago, which shaped our musical identity? Have any players emerged who set new directions and standards? These are some of the questions that the SKAsety.PL compilation is trying to answer.
The man behind it is Grzesiek Skwara, the founder of a popular Facebook fan page – Ska Music – Spirit of Sosnowiec. Initially, the profile was devoted to the legacy of the cult bands from the Dąbrowa Basin, such as Skankan, Horrorshow, Black Gang, The Stylers, Gamblers and Ziggie Piggie. With time, it evolved into a more widespread promotion channel for ska from Poland and the rest of the world. Due to the positive feedback from the audience, Grzesiek decided to create a compilation summarizing the accomplishments of Polish bands. It was initially supposed to be released to mark the fan page’s fifth anniversary, but the pandemic has thwarted these plans. Luckily, after a year-long delay, we’ll be able to listen to some new and old Polish songs compiled on two CDs.
SKAsety.PL vol. 1
1. Wersja De Lux – Be A Colour
2. Steady Social Club – Friend Or Foe
3. Cała Góra Barwinków – Grzeczny
4. Skacowani – Ulica
5. Pomorska 68 – Łobuz
6. Skankan – Stado Muszek
7. Las Melinas – Fever
8. 3City Stompers – Łobuzerka Na Rowerkach
9. Ska Petarda – Dwójka
10. The Bartenders – Cebron
11. Vespa – Ściemniacz
12. Podwórkowi Chuligani – Stay Young
13. The Synki – Więcej I Więcej
1. The Bartenders – No Ordinary Love
2. 3City Stompers – Tarantino
3. Ska Petarda – Barowa Królowa
4. Pomorska 68 – Wyspa
5. Vespa – Mój Numer 2
6. Skacowani – Nie Wiesz Nic
7. Skankan feat. Mark – No Regrets
8. Steady Social Club – You Kept Me Waiting
9. Las Melinas – Ferajna
10. Cała Góra Barwinków – Take On Me
11. Sari Ska Band – Skinhead Reggae
12. Wersja De Lux – City Of Loss
13. Podwórkowi Chuligani – Wolność
If you know a thing or two about Polish ska, you will surely notice that the overwhelming majority of bands on this tracklist are veterans. Honestly, that’s just how our scene is. Some of the tracks appeared earlier on full-length records of particular bands, some are new or have been published before in a form other than an LP. It’s a solid summary of what has been happening in Poland in recent years. The variety of represented genres is quite wide. From, as the author describes it, classic ska, through ska jazz, rocksteady, skinhead reggae, psychedelic ska, to ska-punk. Enough to suit everyone’s tastes. Apart from that, I hope that this set will be an inspiration and motivation for new bands, which we desperately need for SKAsety.PL to have a worthy vol. 2.
In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to pre-order volume one. RudeMaker is a proud patron of this project. SKAsety.PL was released by American Red Stranger and, of course, Ska Music – Spirit of Sosnowiec. The album has a stylish cover illustrated by Old School Design and can also be ordered in a bundle with an occasional T-shirt via Gitness69 and Jimmy Jazz Records. The preorder ends on 18 June. Let’s do the Polish ska!