A 9 track ska album (38m 20s) — released September 22nd 2017 on Dub Store Records

1985 in Tokyo, the Japanese ska scene saw the dawn of a new era when Ska Flames run into the circuit.

Back then there wasn't even a club scene, although the city had some ska hot dances where live music was happening and DJs were playing out their gems. In fact that was the only place in Japan where you can buy or even listen to the Jamaican ska music. Those ska musicians and DJs were seen as cool and hip players causing this movement by drowning themselves into the Skatalites records.

That's when an English gentleman, goes under the name of Gaz Mayall, who discovered the Ska Flames while his visit in Japan. The band released their first album "Ska Fever" for Gaz Rockin' Blues in 1989, successfully debuting the London gig the same year spreading their name across the globe. What's interesting is their song titles, "Samurai", "Kurosawa" and even "Hot Sake". They are all seemingly named by Gaz who perhaps felt the Japanese romance to their music. The Ska Flames indeed is a band that deserves it all.

The Ska Flames music is unconventional - like if they only play what they felt the best ska at times. It's manly, but rich in variety and humorous at the same time. Their first single "Tokyo Shot" sounds miraculously refined like Showa pops.

When you talk about the live shows of the Ska Flames, it's like a Japanese local festival. Full of atmosphere and good vibes. Every band member stands on the stage like bosses, confidence would be the only word that can explain their presence. Legendary, it is also known that their gigs sell more booze than anyone else's.

In 1989, when the Skatalies and Prince Buster toured Japan, the Ska Flames represented the Japanese ska scene receiving applause from every punter. Since then, they played the same roll supporting other Jamaican legends at numeros occasions, acting as a bridge between the two countries.

It's been over thirty years since the beginning, meanwhile the Japanese ska scene has strongly been established and is as bold as ever. We cannot measure how much contribution the founding members such as Kenji Miyazaki, Koji Ise, Akihito Nakasu, Seiichi Nagai, Toru Shibagaki and Kei Miyanaga, as well as the next generation Michihisa Ishii, Kei Mizorogi, Jin Shimura and Naoki Tanaka have rendered to the Japanese music.

The Ska Flames have been and will always be leading the Japanese ska music spreading the good vibes all around. Right about now, I would like to present this stunning album to all the great musicians of Jamaica and no other than Prince Buster.

Naoki Ienaga (Dub Store Records)

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