Natty Bo, director, producer of Ska Cubano, a DJ, songwriter and currently singer of the major London Ska band Top Cats and now Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm.
Wearing a blue zoot suit with wide lapels and an open-necked shirt, Natty Bo looks as if he has just walked off the screen of a cinema showing Our Man in Havana, or another film set in pre-Castro Cuba, in which he plays the fixer, the man with an answer to every problem, whether you need a fake passport or a doctor who’ll treat your gunshot wound without asking how it happened.
In his version of real life, Natty Bo is a DJ, singer, and leader of at least two bands, Ska Cubano Natty Boand The Top Cats. Both bands play music with a ska beat, one featuring songs in Spanish and flavoured by Cuban and Colombian rhythms, the other in English and twinned with American R&B. After finishing tonight’s bout of Radio Ping Pong, Natty had less than thirty minutes to get to Victoria station and (I hope) catch the 10.00 pm train to Brighton, fifty miles away, where he was due onstage with the Top Cats soon after 11.00 pm. Although the programme followed the recent release of Ska Cubano’s second album ¡ Ay Caramba !, Natty’s vinyl selections were closer to the Top Cats’ repertoire.
It turns out Natty grew up in Thamesmead, a section of South East London not famous as a stimulus for adventurous musicians. But he didn’t need to go out of the house to find musical inspiration – his father’s record collection included Louis Jordan and Leadbelly. The concept of Ska Cubano’s blend of Jamaica, Cuban and Colombian rhythms is a vision shared with producer Peter Scott, who financed the recording sessions in Havana, where they put local musicians through a crash course in ska’s distinctive shuffle rhythm, which had never crossed the one hundred kilometre gap between Jamaica and Cuba during ska’s heyday in the 1960s. I wasn’t convinced by the first album, but like this one much better. It sounds like everybody is more
I can always play an eclectic mix or a themed night 45s Lps 78rpms CDs, Rhythm n Blues, 50s60s black Rock n roll, rockabilly, Cuban mambo, Son Columbian Cumbia, Trinidadian Calypso 60s Soul, hammond organ grooves, jamaican Ska, Rocksteady, Latin boogaloo garagepsych 70s Funk JBs Rare-groove Reggae punk Afro-beat 30s 40s swingJazz hockum-blues Jump-Jive 80s 90s 00s Old-school hiphop dancehall jungle
But I dont play Disco House Techno trance rock pop rave etc.
Check out my nights at
- Gazs Rockin Blues,stMoritz SOHO thursdays 10-3.30am eclectic
- Killer Dillers@hootanannnyBrixton…78rpm records only Swing R&B R&R Gospel shouters Latin last wed every month
- Big Bamboo@Notting Hill arts club sat monthly…Ska reggae Calypso Mento R&B R&R Latin
- Killer Dillers@Guys Bar KCLSU london bridge…78rpms records only Swing R&B R&R Gospel shouters Latin last sat every month
- Camino,Kings X …Latin Soul Funk Reggae Ska 78rpms friday monthly
Skylarkinsoundsystem@thePrince Brixton friday monthly& Big Chill House Kings X …Ska rocksteadyreggae Northernsoul Dancehall ragga Hip Hop Jungle mashups sat monthly Live Ska rocksteady reggae with my bands the topcats 10 piece & ska cubano 11 piece Ok Cheers Natty