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Legends of Ska is a documentary film that will take you on a magnificent journey back to the origins of Jamaican music.

Click "Updates" tab for a special video message from the filmmaker.

Legends of Ska is a documentary film focusing on the sights & sounds of Jamaica during the early 1960s. As the precursor to Reggae, Ska is a mix of Jazz, R&B, and many other styles of music, which continued to make a huge impact far from the island's shores.

The idea for this project was born ten years ago, right after conducting a radio interview with the first star of Ska, Derrick Morgan. It went very well and I said to the show's intern "When is someone going to make a movie about the music we love?" That was my "light bulb" moment and it has been shining brightly ever since.

At that time, everyone was captivated by the Buena Vista Social Club, right before Ken Burns' documentary series, Jazz, debuted on PBS.  Inspired by those projects, I decided to produce and film the largest vintage ska show ever. I was fortunate to raise enough money to present the Legends of Ska concerts in Toronto over a long weekend during the summer of 2002. The review in the Jamaica Gleaner was outstanding and the event was named "Concert of the Year" by Now Toronto.

Back then, I thought reuniting the greatest collection of original Jamaican Ska singers & musicians was going to be the hardest part of this process, but it turned out to be the easiest.  Raising the money to complete this project through traditional means has not worked out, that is why I am turning to you.

Currently, all principal photography has been completed and the film is in post-production. All the money raised from Kickstarter will go directly towards completing the film.  Our priority is to finish editing the film by late summer, then hit the film festival circuit.  The funding will also cover the sound mix, High Definition transfers & MARKETING.

The more money raised, the more songs we can use in the finished film.

Over all these years, I remained motivated by the many positive responses I regularly received from Ska fans in Jamaica, England, Japan, France, Argentina, Germany, America, Brazil, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Mexico, Italy & China.  One of the trailers on YouTube has well over 150,000 hits.  

Whether you are a passionate fan of Jamaican music & culture or a curious observer who loves film & the feeling of sand between your toes, please come forward. This is the last major genre of Jamaican music that needs its story to be told.

The film clip on this page is one of many. Please visit the Legends of Ska web site for more trailers, photos and information.

Calling all Rudies: The time is NOW to board the Ska train!!!

Please click the GREEN button that says "BACK THIS PROJECT." Anything you can give is greatly appreciated. All the swag offered as Backer Rewards is very enticing, especially the grand prize.  If you wish to forgo any of the material rewards, please indicate.

In August of 2012, the independent nation of Jamaica will turn 50 years young. My goal is to complete the film this year and be ready for release next year, so we can all celebrate the island's musical heritage together.

Alton Ellis (above) singing at Legends of Ska rehearsal, July 10, 2002.  Photograph by Greg Lawson.  Trailer edited by Ron Halpern.

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202
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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    9 backers

    $1 will give you POSITIVE VIBRATIONS and film updates.

  • Pledge $10 or more
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    11 backers

    POSITIVE VIBRATIONS and a digital download of a song from the Legends of Ska soundtrack and behind-the-scenes footage.

  • Pledge $25 or more
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    69 backers

    All the above AND a Legends of Ska DVD once the film is released, plus a b/w oval SKA sticker.

  • Pledge $50 or more
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    38 backers

    All the above AND a Legends of Ska concert poster from the 2002 event, plus a "special thanks" credit in the film.

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    47 backers

    All the above AND a copy of the official Legends of Ska soundtrack (LP, CD or digital version), an 8" x 10" b/w print from the Legends of Ska concert weekend, plus a genuinely enthusiastic "Thank You!" phone call from the filmmaker.

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    2 backers

    All the above AND a sincerely appreciative "Thank You!" phone call from one of the actual musicians from the Legends of Ska All-Star Skatalite Orchestra.

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    0 backers

    All the above AND have one of the Legends of Ska artists make you a personalized message for your mobile phone or answering machine.

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    3 backers

    All the above AND an Associate Producer film credit to go with a hug & a hardy handshake.

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    All the above AND have dinner with at least one of the singers or musicians from the film, the filmmaker and an invitation to a film editing session.

  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers

    All the above AND drumroll please...... travel to Kingston, Jamaica in early summer 2011. You get down there and I'll cover the rest. We will tour "Beat Street" and visit original Sound System Dancehall sites while lodging at the low key Prestige Hotel. You will meet Ska legends Derrick Morgan, Stranger Cole and King Stitt as well as spend a night out in the country at the home of the great balladeer, Lord Creator. Cap off the week by chilling out in Negril for a couple days before returning to your home a changed person.

Funding period

- (30 days)