Jamaican music legend Laurel Aitken explains how he became known as 'The Godfather of Ska'.
Born Lorenzo Aitken in Cuba in 1927, Laurel Aitken moved to Jamaica when he was 11 year old and started singing at an early age. At one point he worked for the Jamaican Tourist Board welcoming tourists disembarking from cruise ships with calypso music. However his first real success came in 1959 when he was the first Jamaican artist to have a hit in the Jamaican charts with the double A sided ‘Little Sheila’ and ‘Boogie In My Bones’.
Aitken moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. When performing a show in London, the MC for the evening introduced him as ‘The Godfather of Ska’ and the name stuck.
With 50 years in the music business under his belt, Laurel has some advice for young bands wishing to emulate his success. Perseverance is key, but you also have to enjoy what you do.
If you see me on stage...you know that I enjoy what I’m doing.
At the moment Aitken is trying to mix ska music with hip-hop music, to attract a new generation of people to his music.
This edition of ‘Jo Maxi’ was broadcast on 23 October 1991. The reporter is Susan Kavanagh