The backing musicians, Bandits, a nine-member Spanish ska band, warmed up the crowd before Roy Ellis’s grand entrance. Donning a bright red suit, the gregarious living legend of ska, Ellis (a.k.a. Mr. Symarip) was glowing with enthusiasm. “Are You Ready to Rumble?” Ellis asked above the cheers. The house lit up.

The whole venue bounced as everyone skanked to the timeless rocksteady beat. The elder statesman of ska mused “It’s good to see everyone is still young… even me” A nod to a music that has been passed down the generations since the early 1960s. Ellis has been to Valencia a few times before. And Valencia music fans love ska. So his fond familiarity was met with affection.

Ellis and the band bantered and laughed amongst themselves on-stage displaying a level of fun and celebration that was part of the evening magic. That good mood spilled off of the stage. The night erupted into a group sing-a-long during Ellis’ hit One Way Ticket to the Moon. They slowed things down with Hopeton Lewis’ reggae classic Grooving out on Life. A curious choice for a ska arrangement, Billy Joel’s I Love You Just the Way You Are showcased Ellis’ vocal range. Into his Come On and Dance With Me, fitting for the set, the night was a string of old classics.

Ellis was very specific to point out ska and reggae are different. Ska is the original music before reggae, 2tone and third wave ska, Ellis is proud to be one of the early originators with a recording career dating back to the 1960s. According to his online biography “….already brilliant as a 10 year old solo singer in the Children -Gospel choir in the Baptist Church in Kingston, Jamaica. In his schooldays he developed a strong friendship with Jimmy Cliff, and also Bob Marley belonged to his circle of friends.”

To spend a night dancing to Roy Ellis’ performance is not only fun as ska can best deliver, but also a chance to witness musical history. The artist who brought us Skinhead Moonstomp lives on!

Ellis also announced that his new release is out since last week, titled Roy Ellis and Friends.

Report by Phillip Solomonson

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

Photos copyright Phillip Solomonson / ‘24/7 Valencia’

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24/7 Valencia

24/7 Valencia is the definitive English Speaking guide to Valencia. Extensive Listings, up-to-date and informed articles on restaurants, chill out, clubland, football, culture, arts, books, woman and much more.
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