Melbourne Ska Conga delights commuters on Edinburgh Trams

MORE than a dozen musicians from the Melbourne Ska Orchestra joined up with Fringe visitors to form a ska conga on the Edinburgh trams.

More than a dozen musicians from the Melbourne Ska Orchestra joined up with Fringe visitors to form a ska conga on the Edinburgh trams

The band, which includes Kilmarnock singer Steven Montgomery who is performing in Scotland for the first time after leaving for Oz 20 years ago, are at the Fringe to promote their latest album Sierra-Kilo-Alpha.

They entertained festival-goers and commuters at York Place while they waited for a tram to take them across the city.

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Performing at the Gilded Balloon until 12 August, the band are getting out and about all round the city playing impromptu concerts and hoping to get the public involved in the singing, playing and dancing spectacle.

Ska Conga Delights Commuters Picture: Colin Hattersley

Lead singer Nicky Bomba said: “We are just loving it here in Edinburgh – what a great vibe. The Scottish sense of humour and the Aussie one is very similar so we are having a fantastic time.

“Getting out on the trams and on the streets is an amazing experience and loads of fun. People just love getting involved and dancing whenever we start to play. It looks like being the most fantastic week.”

And for Steven it’s turning into quite a homecoming as he is taking some of his colleagues to the Bellfield Tavern in Kilmarnock to play a special extra gig at the Bellfield Tavern on Thursday.

He said: “It’s going to be a fantastic night, I’m really looking forward to being back and playing a gig in Kilmarnock. When I was growing up there I loved 2tone but I could never imagine that I’d be back here one day, up on stage with a band.”

Steven Montgomery is performing in Scotland for the first time after leaving for Oz 20 years ago

It had been touch and go for the Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s preview gig last night when their flight from London was delayed by five hours. But a dash across Edinburgh got them to the Gilded balloon two minutes before the show was due to start.

Nicky said: “That was quite a rush – forget about rehearsal time, we didn’t even have time to get changed, it was just up there and play. But it was brilliant, the audience were fantastic.”

Formed in 2003 as a one-off to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ska, the band soon realised they had something special to offer – with its broad appeal to young and old.

The Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s self-titled first release resulted in sell out national shows, multiple major festival appearances and three international tours.

They entertained festival-goers and commuters at York Place while they waited for a tram to take them across the city

Their take on Ska has wowed audiences all over the world from Montreal to New York, Istanbul to London. It’s also won the approval of Reggae and Ska pioneers like Stranger Cole, Owen Gray, Carlos Malcolm, Ranking Roger and Neville Staples.

Lead singer Nicky Bomba leads the band across the tram tracks at York Place
Ska Conga Delights Commuters Picture: Colin Hattersley
Steven Montgomery is performing in Scotland for the first time after leaving for Oz 20 years ago
They entertained festival-goers and commuters at York Place while they waited for a tram to take them across the city
Lead singer Nicky Bomba leads the band across the tram tracks at York Place