Melbourne Ska Orchestra

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The Melbourne Ska Orchestra is a ska big band based in Melbourne, Australia, led by Nicky Bomba.

First started in 2003 by musical dynamo and John Butler Trio drummer, Nicky Bomba and PBS FM announcer/Jamaican music historian Mohair Slim, MSO is dedicated to educating and entertaining audiences to the sweet sounds of Jamaican ska and roots music and the evolution of the genre. MSO is fast becoming an institution in the Australian music scene with recent performances at the Byron Bay Blues Festival proving without a doubt, the international calibre of this mighty orchestra.

An explosive celebration of music unfolds on stage with some of Australia’s finest musicians, when the 30 od piece orchestra hit the stage. Imagine the force of an 18 piece horn section, a mean rhythm section, percussionist, organist and 3 singers and you may only begin to understand the life force that is the Melbourne Ska Orchestra.

Melbourne Ska Orchestra (MSO) is a fun-loving big band experience with music from the golden ska period of 1963 through to modern day classics. A massive hit at festivals everywhere, the MSO is fast becoming a must-see institution with members hailing from some of the best ska and reggae bands in Australia. Founded in 2003 as a way of celebrating this uplifting music, the MSO is dedicated to educating and entertaining audiences with the sweet sounds of ska – and dancing is compulsory!


The MSO’s repertoire covers tracks from 1963 (Skatalites, Wailers) through to the British Two Tone craze (Madness, Specials etc) and anything positive or significant in between. With original tunes, reggae, rocksteady classics and Latin-based ska in the mix, the MSO energises audiences.

Members and special guests

MSO members hail from some of Australia’s leading ska and reggae bands, with past shows featuring special guests including Joe Camilleri, Jali Buba Kuyateh, Dereb Desalegn, Nadee and international reggae greats such as Carlos Malcolm, Dawn Penn and Stranger Cole. The MSO’s first international invitation was to Jamaican singing legend Owen Gray, resulting in a massive sold-out show. As a result Nicky and Owen recorded the track “Inna One Yard” (featured on the “Weekend Sessions 2” CD compilation).

Their debut album was released on 8 March 2013.

External links