Sunday, March 14, 2021

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Chinatown Ska "Chinatown Ska EP"!

The cover features a stylized Asian dragon with blood pouring out of its closed eyes.(Review by Steve Shafer)

Led by Pablo Jara, Chilean traditional ska act Chinatown Ska's excellent new single Chinatown Ska - EP (7" vinyl picture sleeve single, Canana Records, 2021; available in the US through Guerrero Records, in Mexico through Spinning Riot, and Aggroshop and Copasetic in Europe) is dedicated to the 270 protestors whose eyesight was lost or injured by police rubber bullets and/or tear gas grenades during The Social Outbreak in 2019 (note how blood pours from the closed eyes of the dragon on the picture sleeve cover)--which consisted of widespread, mass demonstrations against the Chilean government in reaction to enormous income inequality, privatization of government services, and political and corporate tax-evasion and corruption scandals. Side A of the single directly addresses The Social Outbreak with a melancholy Jackie Mittoo-type instrumental cover of cumbia slum singer Dany Lescano's "El Hijo del Botón" ("Son of a Button"), which became an anthem of the protests (see/hear a version performed on the street on tuba) because of relevant (and ominous) lyrics like these: "Hitting poor people is your profession/And thus you give the rich protection/You will see the people who back you up will run/They will see the bullets that they threw at us will return." Chinatown Ska has retitled their version "Las Balas" ("The Bullets"). The flip side contains "Oasis Ska," a lovely jazz-ska cut that has a slight Far East sound to it. (Thanks to Canana Records for bringing us ska sounds from Mexico with The Ska Contenders, Argentina with Green Torrejas, and now Chile!)

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