Tue June 7, 2011
World Cafe

The Jolly Boys On World Cafe

Mento is the Jamaican dancehall music whose raw, joyous sound and distinctive rhythms eventually gave rise to popular styles like ska, rocksteady and reggae. Mento remains comparatively unknown outside its home country but has steadily gained international exposure through the efforts of The Jolly Boys.

The Jolly Boys formed in Port Antonio in the mid-1950s and became an integral part of the north coast's tourist-driven music scene. They began touring internationally in the late 1980s and continue to share the distinctly Jamaican flavor of mento with a global audience.

Mento has always been a hybrid tradition, incorporating elements of folk, jazz and pop into its sonic palette. In 2010, The Jolly Boys celebrated their six-decade journey through the world of global pop with Great Expectation, a covers album featuring inspired rearrangements of pop hits and rock standards by Johnny Cash, the Clash, Steely Dan, Iggy Pop, Blondie, Amy Winehouse and more.

On this edition of World Café, The Jolly Boys perform three songs and talk with Michaela Majoun about their history as the torchbearers of mento.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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