Korean Reggae Scene Keeps Getting Stronger

By Dain Leathem

Last Friday I made it to Club Ta and caught an excellent night of reggae tinged/ska focused madness. Re:Ska, now a 7-piece, kicked things off with an awesome set. With their new fuller sound and great energy they have really grown in all ways since I first saw them last year. Busan Ska outfit Wake Up sadly played their last gig (goddamn military service strikes again) and showed a slightly more aggressive rocky take on ska, without resorting to the overdone punk ska sound – very nice. Then the least reggae band of the night, “Ynot?”, actually announced they weren’t really reggae, but with their positive energy, tights skills and distinct taste in covers they fit right in and had the whole place jumping crazily. Lastly, Kingston Rudie Ska arrived and raised their glasses before they kicked off an awesome set. This was a wicked night that displayed the variety, charisma and love of the local reggae/ska scene.


Did I mention this was the first of two big reggae gigs happening in Seoul in a nine-day period? If you missed last Friday’s one, then this Saturday you get a second chance to hear the love.

Club Blue Spirit hosts a more traditional reggae night on Saturday (Nov. 21), “Let Jah Music Play” with Windy City headlining. The five-piece have had a great year, headlining the tent on Saturday night at Jisan, playing after No Brain at Ssamzie fest, and need little introduction. They mix in a little funk and jazz, but remain Korea’s foremost traditional reggae band. Band leader Kim Bang Jang’s other band, I & I Djangdan, play reggae’s mellowest derivative, dub music. To see them live is to feel them, a great Korean take on this genre. Seoul’s newest reggae group, The Seoul Steady Rockers will also be there with their more uptempo reggae sounds. The lineup is completed with Mama Steppa and Bibim Kingman, and it’s a great night of diverse sounds.

Yes, the local reggae scene keeps growing, and it great to see so many acts working together to put on big nights, so go out and taste the sound – Saturday’s gig is 20,000 from 9pm.

Editor: Sadly, Blue Spirit is not on our map. Blue Spirit is down the tiny alley by Ska Bar, across the street from the 7/11 and Club Evans. I have this one map of the club, but it is only in Korean, sorry. I hope it helps, though.


Also, here is a clip of Windy City for you:

4 thoughts on “Korean Reggae Scene Keeps Getting Stronger

  1. Yeah, Kingston & Wakeup were Ska, Ynot? do Bob Marley covers and def have that whole reggae vibe, but Re:ska, despite the name, are definitely a reggae band. I always thought that Ska was a subset of reggae anyway, and there are still some in Korea who, when they hear Ska, think of Ska-Punk bands like Ska Sucks, LazyBone, etc. I wanted to make sure that people realise the HUGE difference between pure ska and the punk hybrid.

  2. I’d say reggae is a subset of ska, because ska came first.

    There’s an annoying assumption that ska without distortion and frat boys is reggae. Real ska and reggae are still two different things, and real ska and ska-punk are two different things. Skasucks are trying to become a two-tone band but they haven’t quite gotten there yet.

    Anyway, this show was pretty good. I didn’t care much for Windy City and Soul Steady Rockers, but I&I and Bibim Kingmans were both great. Looking forward to seeing them again on December 5.

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