Melbourne Ska Orchestra

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Melbourne Ska Orchestra
Melbourne Ska Orchestra performing at Northern Lights Festival Boréal in 2014.
Melbourne Ska Orchestra performing at Northern Lights Festival Boréal in 2014.
Background information
OriginMelbourne, Australia
GenresSka, big band, reggae
Years active2003-present
Associated actsBustamento
Nicky Bomba
John Butler Trio
Mighty Duke & The Lords
Ska Vendors
Dr Hernadez
MembersNicky Bomba
Barry Deenick
Rodrigo Pino
Dorian West
Antonio Milillo
Michael Caruana
Michael Havir
Stephen Phillips
George Servanis
Dave Joseph
Elvis Aljus
Lennox Jordan
Steven Montgomery
Pat Powell
Paul Coyle
Patrick Cronin
David Henry
Sarah Heffernan
Theodore Kazan
Dean Hilson
Justin Forster
Robert Calvert
Peter Mitchell
Laurance Bongailas
Anthony Hicks
Sally Ford
Peter Slipper
Kynan Robinson
Wally Maloney
Michael Boase
Jake Savona
Cam Hassard
Piers Gooding

Melbourne Ska Orchestra are an ARIA Award winning ska band formed in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. The group has up to 34 members, and is led by bandleader Nicky Bomba, formerly of the John Butler Trio. The band are signed to FOUR FOUR, an imprint of ABC Music.[1]


Drawing inspiration from the vast musical legends that have shaped the Ska genre, from the Jamaican movement through to UK Two Tone and the present day Latino Ska, Melbourne Ska Orchestra demonstrate a unique Australian vision with the exuberance and freewheeling colour of contemporary Ska. The outfit have crafted their sound with unexpected arrangements and seductive harmonies, powerful horns and foot-stomping drums.

The eponymous Melbourne Ska Orchestra album was released to rave reviews in 2013 and picked up 2 ARIA nominations that year.[2]

The band have toured consistently for over a decade, including festival appearances at Bluesfest, Golden Plains, Vivid, Caloundra, Queenscliff and AWME. In addition to their highly visible presence on the Australian touring circuit, the band have built an impressive, ever-growing and dedicated overseas fan base.[3] The band sold out their debut London show, appeared on the bill for the iconic Glastonbury Festival and played a headline set to a crowd 50,000 at the Montreal Jazz Festival during their 2014 tour.[4] The band has performed in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Turkey as well as appearing in television commercials in Australia and Japan.

The band released their second album Sierra Kilo Alpha in April 2016, embarking on a national tour to support it.[5]

Sierra Kilo Alpha won the 2016 ARIA Award for Best World Music Album.[6]

The band released a follow up to their acclaimed 2016 release called Saturn Return in late 2016. Saturn Return comprises a selection of songs from the same recording session as Sierra Kilo Alpha and was released on a rocket-shaped USB drive.

In 2018, the band announced that they would release one song every week (each Friday, hence "52 Fridays") for an entire year. At the end of 2019, the entire 52-week series of single releases was successfully concluded with the song "Magnolia Springtime". The resulting collection, One Year Of Ska, won the 2019 ARIA Award for Best World Music Album.



  • Melbourne Ska Orchestra (2013)
  • Sierra Kilo Alpha (April 2016)
  • Saturn Return (2016)
  • Ska Classics (2018)
  • TV & Movie Themes (2018)
  • Read all about it (2018)
  • Transmission Friday's (2019)


  • "The Best Things In Life Are Free" (13 November 2012)
  • "Lygon Street Meltdown" (11 February 2013)
  • "Get Smart" (2014)
  • "Satellite" (14 September 2015)
  • "Funkchunk!" (26 February 2016)

52 Fridays - One Year Of Ska[edit]


ARIA Awards[edit]

Melbourne Ska Orchestra has been nominated for five Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards, winning Best World Music Album in 2016 and 2019.[7]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2013 Nicky Bomba and Robin Mai - Melbourne Ska Orchestra Engineer of The Year Nominated
2013 Melbourne Ska Orchestra Best Blues & Roots Album Nominated
2014 Melbourne Ska Orchestra Best Live Act Nominated
2016 Sierra Kilo Alpha Best World Music Album Won
2017 Saturn Return Best World Music Album Nominated
2018 Ska Classics Best World Music Album Nominated
2019 One Year of Ska Best World Music Album Won

Music Victoria Awards[edit]

The band have won one Music Victoria Awards.[8]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2016 Melbourne Ska Orchestra Best Global or Reggae Act Won


  1. ^ "Melbourne Ska Orchestra sign to FOUR|FOUR record label - single released! - Melbourne Ska Orchestra". Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Two ARIA Nominations for MSO!! - Melbourne Ska Orchestra". Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Melbourne Ska Orchestra » Vivid LIVE 2015". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  4. ^ "MELBOURNE SKA ORCHESTRA WITH MOJO JUJU @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE". Vivid 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Sierra-Kilo-Alpha Australian Tour! - Melbourne Ska Orchestra". Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  6. ^ The Music. "The Music - news website". The Music. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Two ARIA Nominations for MSO!! - Melbourne Ska Orchestra". Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Music Victoria | 2016 Genre Awards". Retrieved 21 August 2020.

External links[edit]