Ska in Mexico

Ska in Mexico

Panteon Rococo

The massive influence of ska and reggae coming out of Jamaica in the 60s and 70s didn’t just go north or across the pond to England. It went south into Mexico and into all parts of South America.

Also, while ska had its “waves” in the English speaking world, in Latin America it never lost popularity, evolving and mixing with many genres of music, not only punk. Many Latin ska bands have had steady followings since the 80s or 90s and still fill stadiums today.

These groups could be called ska-fusion, as they rightly are sometimes in Latin America, where calling them “Latin ska” is like calling football “American football.” These groups mix ska with reggae, funk, rock, punk and Latin rhythms like cumbia.

While there are good ska bands all over Latin America, especially Argentina, because I live in Mexico I have to give a shout-out to the many fine Mexican groups first.

Panteon Rococo is a great example of what has gone right with Latin ska. The nine-piece (as of now) band puts on a long, rocking live show, and their big anthems are upbeat crowd-pleasing sing-alongs.

Panteon Rococo released a fine new album in 2010, Ejercito de Paz (Army of Peace). Funkier and more refined than straight-up ska, the songs have hooky horn melodies, political themes, and a deep pocket, like in the songs “Democracia Fecal” and “Payaso de Mentiras.”

Though Panteon Rococo leads the pack, there are many more innovative ska/rock/funk bands in Mexico, like Maldita Vecindad, Salon Victoria, Mama Pulpa, and Maskateska,. Do some YouTube searches, download a few albums, or better yet, come down to Mexico to see this excellent live music for yourself.