The Best Ska Bands in the World

Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late '50s, and was the precursor to reggae. Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat and a lot of brass. 

Music historians typically divide the history of ska into three periods: the original Jamaican scene of the 1960s; the English 2 Tone ska revival of the late 1970s; and the third wave of ska, which started in the 1980s and peaked in the 1990s but is still seen today. Not all Ska bands will sounds even close to the same as they often mix in their own mix of rock, rap, etc. 

#5: Sublime

Sublime is an incredible bands with hits such as Smoke Two Joints and Date Rape, but not all of their music is straight Ska which is why they've landed at number 5 instead of higher up on the list. With such few hits, often lacking horns entirely, most people don't know of their most ska songs such as Doin' Time from their 1997 album Second Hand Smoke.

Sublime Live

#4: Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake is an American ska punk band from Gainesville, Florida, formed in 1992 with their first album Pezcore. With top hits of Sugar In Your Gas Tank and Hell Looks Alot Like L.A. (sic) it's hard to go wrong with this band which still tours today. 

Less than Jake live

#3: Street Light Manifesto

This iconic band is a legend in the Ska world. No other band has come close to Streetlight Manifesto in regularly putting out significantly powerful and expressive albums. While their music will make you want to mosh more than others, there is nothing wrong with that. To say that their lead vocalist, Tomas Kalnoky, has a pleasing and relaxing voice would be flat out incorrect, but that only adds to this wonderful music. 

Streetlight Manifesto live

#2: Reel Big Fish

This California based ska band is one of the most talented bands in the industry, and not just for ska music. If you have the 10 minutes to check out their live song S.R. (the many versions of) I would highly recommend it. Reel Big Fish has had hits such as Sell Out, Party Down, and Beer

On top of their years of albums and great music, Reel Big Fish is renowned for their amazing live shows. With great audience interaction, which can be heard in their live album Our Live Album Is Better Than Yours, and great visuals/dancing. 

Reel Big Fish live

#1: The Cat Empire

This band is one of the best in the industry. Coming out of Australia, The Cat Empire brings its own unique take on Ska music. Some have described it as a Salsa Ska due to the fast-paced and lively songs. Their top songs include the more deep Two Shoes to the happy-go-lucky Hello, but everyone knows them from their song The Chariot off of their first album. 

Cat Empire Live