Arts & Culture

Ska’d by the Music – the latest documentary by award winning local film maker Sharon Woodward

By Sarah Edwards

Ska’d by the Music, the latest documentary by award winning local film maker Sharon Woodward, had its first public screening at Film Oxford recently. The film was followed by a Q&A session which generated an interesting discussion about class and the rich mix of different cultures brought to our community through migration.
The film tells the story of Symarip, the British Jamaican Ska band and original creators of the ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’. Forming in the late 1960s they were the first black skinhead reggae band to specifically target a skinhead audience.

Sharon said “I have wanted to make this film for years because Symarip deserve far more recognition than they ever got, mainly because the Far Right movement hijacked the skinhead and Ska scene and turned it into something very different.”
“The band did so much to engage a future generation of young working class people. Young people from different cultures that were working side by side in factories or wherever during the day, were going to the same clubs and listening to the same music at night.”

Narrated by Natasha Marie, the film charts the band’s progress and its influence on popular music in Britain at that time. Through interviews with original Symarip members and other Ska bands including ‘The Oppressed’ and Oxford’s very own Inflatables, we also hear how the original skinhead re-emerged a decade later as Two Tone or the rude boy/girl, embodying the same values of unity.

Original rude boy Neville Staples who sang with the ‘Specials’, a two tone band in the late 1970s said “That type of music got us, the black and white together. A lot of people think that most of the song’s we’ve done, Message To You, Skinhead Moonstomp, was the Specials songs, all those musics belong to the old ‘Ska Generals’ as I call them.”
This film gives a thoughtful insight into the social and political culture of music at that time and its influence today.
you can watch the film online via Concord Media Distribution: