Melbourne Ska Orchestra

This artist performed at the VFMF in 2015

Melbourne Ska Orchestra (Australia)


In 2003, the time was right. A world-record attempt to have the largest number of horn players on stage at the same time playing the ska-skank saw a slew of musicians take the stage at St Kilda’s Gershwin Room, and although nobody remembered to check if the record had actually been set, from this sold-out performance the Melbourne Ska Orchestra was born. Assembled from some of Australia’s preeminent names in Ska and Reggae and fronted by inimitable frontman Nicky Bomba (Bomba, Bustamento, John Butler Trio), the soaring popularity of the band is seeing the MSO fast becoming a fixture in Australia’s musical landscape.

Drawing on the vast amount of musical legends that have shaped the genre from the Jamaican movement through to UK Two Tone and the present day Latino Ska, MSO demonstrate a unique Australian vision with the exuberance and freewheeling colour of contemporary Ska. The outfit have crafted their sound with unexpected arrangements and seductive harmonies, of powerful horns and foot-stomping drums. Each song is like a vignette from a Ska-infused storybook, full of cinematic colour and characters bursting to life from every verse.