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Kingston Rudieska

Genres: Ska

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Biography

Although South Korea is about as far from Jamaica as a country could be, that hasn’t prevented the authentic sounds of Jamaican musical genres such as ska and reggae from reaching Korea’s shores. Korea’s first traditional ska band, Kingston Rudieska has been paying respect to the roots of ska since their first show in 2004. This nine-piece group blends bluebeat ska, jazz, reggae, dub, and nyah binghi influences into a final product that is uniquely Korean, something the band has dubbed “feast ska.” Their shows are a mix of foot-stomping instrumentals backed by a four-piece horn section with warm, soulful vocal songs sung by “Sugar” Lee Seok-yul, all with a traditional jazz improvisational vibe as many of the members are trained jazz musicians. Their music pays heavy respect to ska pioneers the Skatalites, and it’s not uncommon to hear a Skatalites cover thrown into their sets. 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, Sim Soo Bong, and Yoon Hyung Joo. 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), Dr. Ring Ding Ska Vaganza, and Skazz (Australia). Most recently, they recorded an EP with 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 travelling with a nine-piece band, Kingston Rudieska has little experience playing to overseas audiences, having toured the Philippines in 2012 and visited Japan in 2013, during which time they formed the jam band Asian Unite with Japanese bands Eskargot Miles, Frisco, and Kingstompers.
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