"Take Madness and The Specials excellent skanking music and stick Adam Ant or Captain Sensible on vocals and what you get is the fantastic Liberator."
- No Bar Codes fanzine
The early 60's, in an era where the world of music was metamorphosing, the island of Jamaica was starting to take its first trembling steps, finding its identity as a self-governed member of the Commonwealth. Recording studios, sound systems and companies suddenly began popping up in large numbers to seek out new talent. Soon something new from the previous copying of the musical style and dances of America was erupting. The after-beat and what was to be known as ska was born when Caribbean music (Mento - a style of Calypso) came to meet American rhythm and blues. The music exploded, creating a vital and stylish movement with its own dances and pace. Ska music became Jamaica's first popular and commercial music, and was later even named the national dance and music of the island. Via immigrants departing to the UK, the music, the style and fashion soon got adopted by the trendy aware modernist (mods) of the UK. Through youth-cults such as the skinheads (the hard-mods) and the rude boys, the music began its travel around the world, splinting and evolving into rock steady, skinhead-reggae, and 'common reggae' before the 60s were over.
Almost forty years late, ska is once again appearing in strength - stronger than ever. Having its biggest 'revival' with the British Two-Tone sound of the late 70's, and another 'not-as-big' third wave in the UK and America in the late 80's, we are now facing what is commonly known as the fourth wave of ska. After spreading its irresistible downbeat rhythms outside the island of Jamaica into all metropolitans and rural corners across the world, ska of today is, much to many people's surprise, a growing still underexposed global musical form facing a revival all across the world. From the pure traditional-stylish young American bands as Hepcat and The Slackers, Jamaicans survivalist godfathers The Skatalites to the reformed Two-Tone sound of The Specials, top the commercial successful pop-ska mixture done by No Doubt further to the punk ska of Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Rancid - the downbeat rhythm of ska is now spreading its legacy like the ray of light. Even if narrow-minded media as just a 'rehash revival' too often stereotypes it, the ska scene of today with all its variety, reinvention and reexamination is rich in history, broad in scope and guaranteed to make you shake your groove thang.
Back in 1993 in the very south of Sweden, to be precise Sweden's third largest city Malmo - a band called Liberator are jamming around, trying to bring back-beat into the music and the local scene by the playing covers by The Beat, Madness, The Specials, etc. Being the party band they set out to be, things are, of course, not really that serious, but nevertheless a demo is recorded and sent out to various labels. Moments later, the band has secured a deal with Burning Heart Records who's interest and love for ska has made the label aware of an expanding previously non-existing, now growing Swedish scene and upcoming bands as Liberator, Chickenpox, Stiff Breeze, Tic Tox, etc. Burning Heart offers Liberator a song on the "one Step Ahead" cd-single compilation. From then onwards, Liberator and Burning Heart are a team determined to set the nations youth on fire by giving them healthy doses of the new SweTone ska dance craze.
Four years later, Liberator are Sweden's best known, well, probably even one of Europe's best-known new ska acts. During those years, an album ("This Is" - '96), two EP's ("Freedom Fighters" - '95 and "Carefully Blended" - '97) and one single ("Tell Me, Tell Me" - '96) have been released, establishing the band as a much beloved and vivid band, both on record as well as live, and has built the band a large, dedicated following because of their insane and frantic adrenaline-filled live shows. Already being the Swedish godfathers of ska, the band has also influenced many young Swedish bands into playing ska, and being a big participant in creating an exciting steadily growing European scene that is yet to see its heydays.
January 2000: the new Liberator album "Worldwide Delivery" is in the pipeline. Reaching the stores on February 8th, the fans and everyone else, ready to lend an ear to the party-rhythms of these Nordic rudies, will get a shaken & stirred 14 track ska cocktail with much more depth, maturity and variation than the debut. The band has blended fine pop sensibility with Jamaican influences coupled with their own personal approach. Radio friendly tracks as "Crying" and "Kick De Bucket" (the first single), "Sinking" and the Madness-sounding "Mr. Wright" combined with some more "live oriented" songs like "Angel of Death' and "Motor Animal" (to mention but a few), makes the new album a fearless ska-bomb that will take Liberator and their brand of ska to a higher level.
The seven-man strong constellation is now ready to tour like crazy!!! Starting it all by being one of four acts on the much attracted Burning Heart rock 'n roll freak show: Sued(e)palooza tour. Plenty of festivals bookings are already confirmed during the summer. A determination to head out for some extensive European touring this spring, and even plans to stir it up in Japan and Australia is on the drawing board. It seems that the band got the worldwide delivery and world domination all planned. Being the approved adventurous killer live act they are, you should make sure you catch Liberator live. Featuring bass player Rodrigo Lopez, the handsome brain of the band, curly flinky drummer Johan Holmberg, guitar-supremo and the latest recruit Daniel Mattsson, the mysterious organist Erik Wesser and the impressive mad zany horn section; Andreas "Andy-man" Sjogren and Peter Andersson, adding their part of the greatness to the LIB sound, treating their horns as if they were playing guitar with as much anger and craziness as Pete Townsend would do if he played ska
Last but not by any means least, singer/front man and ex-rugby player Robert Ylipää gives the impression of watching a reborn Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in full action. Outside the stage, he's a quite schoolteacher, with gardening and cooking Indian food as his main interests. But the moment he enters the stage, he'll transform into one of the most animal like, wild, ride and energetic singers ever witnessed in the history of ska. Don't let anything stand in your way when witnessing Robert & Liberator in their attempt to show the rudies, the dance hall crashers and the men in the street what all the talk about ska music is about. With a few current existing American acts excluded, who is at present gonna do this better than the mighty thrilling Liberator? Ska has once taken Jamaica by storm; it did the same for UK with the Two-Tone movement. Now in 2000, America is waiting for the real ska-boom and so is the rest of the world.
Ska Lib's on...