Newtown Rocksteady

Aotearoa New Zealand


An old wooden hall, a bunch of old Jamaican songs and a vibrant community gave birth to a new sound whose echoes have since rippled far and wide, crashing onto shores across the motu. Founded in 2007, Newtown Rocksteady’s vision was to share the band’s love of old-school Jamaican music with their community of Newtown, Wellington. Weekly gigs in the suburb’s community centre set the tone for the band moving forward, hot and heavy. Since then, their community has expanded but the aim remains the same; to get bodies moving to the unique sounds of rocksteady, ska and reggae and to foster connection with their audiences through groove. The band has gone on to perform in many NZ venues and festivals including Womad, Luminate and of course the great Newtown Festival many times. They are comprised of stalwart Wellington musicians from bands such as The Nudge, Fly My Pretties and Niko Ne Zna. Newtown Rocksteady perform a mixture of their own music, nourished through its roots in Jamaican musical tradition, and rocksteady classics. The sound starts at the rhythm section, interlocking drums and bass hit you in the chest, the skank makes you move the rest. Vocals take their cue from greats like Alton Ellis and The Congos and the band’s vocal harmonies soar. Finally, the heavy hitting horn section is the essential icing on the cake. This is dancing music that will make you move so put on your dancing shoes.

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