The Jolly Boys are a curious mix of lifelong talent and commitment to the mento music art form. The Jolly Boys are a mento band based in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica. Mento is a progenitor to Reggae music. The genesis of Reggae music has been mento, ska, rocksteady, through to reggae music. The band was initially formed in 1940 as the Navy Island Swamp Boys, but evolved into the Jolly Boys with the disbandment of the original band. The band is composed of four members plus touring and performance alternates. More information about the band can be found on their Facebook page and also on Wikipedia.
— Babs (@BabbersShow) January 15, 2018
The average age of the original members are all in their 70’s. The band tours the world brining the unique and increasingly exotic sound of mento around the world. Their live performances are energetic and lively. The sound is unique and is considered Jamaican folk music. If you have never heard mento, its somewhat similar to bluegrass. Bands like the Jolly Boys are critical to carrying on what could be considered a dying music art form. Their performances can spark interest and even inspire a new generation of mento artists.
Every music art form needs talented performers to ensure that it lives on. We’ve discussed the dearth of reggae bands in the past as something to be improved. This is to ensure a healthy creative ecosystem around reggae music. The Jolly Boys shows how music and tradition can benefit from the longevity of artists. Sure, music and artists live on through their recordings, but nothing can replace being able to enjoy them and their music live and direct and in living color.