Q&A Scene: Track-by-Track with Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s Nicky Bomba

Nicky Bomba takes What’s My Scene through Melbourne Ska Orchestra‘s new release Saturn Return, track by track:


A sweet starter that tells a story of jumping in the deep end with love. Moving in together quicker than expected, kinda scary feelings but real. Halfway through, the lyrics morph into an introduction to the band… Here we go at the start of the show… it’s like jumping in the deep end anyway.


Great laid-back Rocksteady feel that the band does so well. This tells the tale of a one sided love where the cancellations/no show situation would mean the end of most relationships. However, this love is deep and he’s prepared to put up with the runaround. Madness some would say, others Strong and Stoic. There’s no one right answer but in any event, a lesson will be learnt.


Random Equations and Great Expectations. Life has shown, for most of us, that serendipitous goodness lands at your feet when you least expect it. I think most of us in the orchestra have that adventurous spirit where we know one thing can lead to another which can lead to another which etc.. so not to discount anything that might be out of the safe zone. We kind of welcome it. The groove of this song is classic UK Ska which was the wave that most of us first caught.


A Classic Swing Ska groove by Barry and George reminiscent of Early Jamaican Ska with a 2Tone lyrical swagger. The song reveals a longing for a person while they are in love with other dubious characters. They eventually reveal that they themselves would make the perfect partner….but… unfortunately …she has moved away. He could always send a pigeon. Very Romantic…


Again a great slow one drop that makes you want to sip on some Red stripe, light a spliff and shuffle with your loved one. Sung from the perspective of a wise old soul, (Grandmother etc) telling a young child about love and all its hills, valleys, bends, road blocks and joy.The knowledge of knowing oneself, learning how to give unconditionally yet still holding your own and not being taken for a ride. The ocean of love will be both choppy and calm. Get used to it.


In the tradition of Movie/ TV themes in the Ska Genre, as first celebrated by the Skatalites, the Orchestra tackles the upbeat mayhem of one of television’s most successful sitcoms. Along with Get Smart from the first album, the Munster’s theme utilises the full sonic spectrum of the Orchestra from deep bass to Piccolo flutes. A scorcher!


From a little riff written by Pete Mitchell in a New Caledonian hotel room,this tune, in the UK 2Tone style, touches on the two faced, constantly lying, so-called friend that needs to be called out on their disrespectful behaviour. With one foot in the breaking up of relationship camp, the singer pays out on the dubious behaviour of their ex. We should probably get in touch with New Idea on this one….


Dean Hilson (Tenor sax) brought this to the band as an instrumental, then lyrics were added, then we removed the lyrics deciding  the instrumental version was already complete. He suggested we look deeper-beyond the notes – and even co-ordinated a group therapy session.Thankfully most of us were unavailable on that particular night. It’s a sonic landscape that goes on a real journey with lush horns, dub styles and great rid dims. The title indicates a thankfulness for life itself and the joy of making music. I think we would have discovered that in the group therapy.


Written by Steve Montgomery and Owen Gray (and presented on a old cassette), this song captures the 3 part vocal harmonies of Pat, Steve and Nicky. Practically a Reggae lullaby, this pays homage to the Jamaican vocal trio style that has the Montgomery porch swaying till the wee hours.


An Old recording refurbished with the MSO horns, this song was captured on Owen’s first visit to Australia as the Orchestra’s special Pioneer Jamaican guest. He happily pledged allegiance to the Australian scene and threatened to move here immediately. No-one opposed his suggestion at all! Studios get ready!


Barry brought this interesting hybrid to the table and further developed it with Nicky. Melding the African High Life groove with a Jamaican Upbeat, this interesting exploration is a good example of the stylistic journey the MSO is happy to swim in. The lyric tells the beautiful story of how we are connected by the Mother Tongue of Music. We have experienced the universal connection that exists when we tour overseas with music as our first language.We have never been lost in translation….Skavoovie!



Melbourne Ska Orchestra presents a huge SKA-BQ show at Shimmerlands – Australia Day Weekend.

All ages tickets now available*. 

Bring the kids – SKA-BQ is a family friendly event.

SKA-BQ features The Ska Vendors, NoNonsense, Project Ska Collective (Syd) and DJs Mohair Slim & Jesse I.

Melbourne Scooter Club and food galore with a distinct Caribbean vibe from Burn City Smokers & The Real Jerk


Melbourne Ska Orchestra are embarking on a run of SKA-BQ dates in early 2017 – taking it back to the old skool and embracing every element that emulates the Ska scene. With each event starting in the afternoon, punters can expect a mini festival vibe filled with smokin BBQ’s, drinks, scooters, a whole lotta Ska and of course skankin galore! And in news just in, the Melbourne show is also offering a family friendly atmosphere, for all ages.

Inspired by similar events accords the globe, Melbourne Ska Orchestra were determined to deliver Australian audiences a tour with a difference, and the mix of great food, beverages and some of Australia’s finest SKA exponents promise to serve up a day to remember.  The MSO will be playing a mix of tracks, from the ARIA award winning release Sierra-Kilo-Alpha to their brand new release Saturn Return (see below for more info) plus many more.

The dates will be launched in Melbourne on the Australia Day weekend, then followed up with 3 interstate shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide in March.   Early bird ticket prices are on sale now.  Full details below. Catch!


SAT JAN 28  SHIMMERLANDS – Under 18 tickets now available

w/ Ska Vendors, NoNonsense, Project Ska Collective (Syd) and DJs Mohair Slim & Jesse I

plus great food, great drinks and the Melbourne Scooter Club

University of Melbourne, PARKVILLE

Tickets & info available from http://www.shimmerlands.com/show/ska-bq/

​U18s tickets now on sale.

Note minors must be in the presence of an adult guardian or parent at all times

Gates open 3pm

Sunday 5th March: The Factory Theatre Precinct

Special guests & more to be announced

105 Victoria Road, Marrickville, SYDNEY

Early bird tickets available for limited time $35 +bf, General admission $40 +bf 

Tickets from

Gates open 4pm

Saturday 25th March: The Triffid                          

Special guests & more to be announced

9 Stratton Street, Newstead, BRISBANE

Early bird tickets available for limited time $35 +bf, General admission $40 +bf

Tickets from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=69329

Doors open 6pm

Sunday 26th March: The Gov

Special guests & more to be announced

59 Port Rd, Hindmarsh, ADELAIDE

Early bird tickets available for limited time $35 +bf, General admission $40 +bf

Tickets from http://thegov.oztix.com.au/?eventId=69226

Doors open 4pm

For more info, head to www.melbourneskaorchestra.com


Melbourne Ska Orchestra (MSO) are still on a galactic sized high after what’s been a fantastic year for the much-loved big band.  Their album ‘Sierra-Kilo-Alpha’ took out both the ARIA Award for Best World Album, and the Victorian Music Award for Best Global or Reggae Album.

The band toured the album both here and then the United Kingdom – where they debuted at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival – receiving rave reviews for their live shows.  Their Splendour in the Grass performance was touted as “a genuine highlight of the entire festival (The Music) and their Edinburgh appearance as “virtuosic & high-octane” (Fringebiscuit.co.uk).

Determined to end 2016 with a bang, the time seemed right to unleash both the run of SKA-BQ shows and SATURN RETURN, a full-length album of previously unreleased recordings from the ‘Sierra-Kilo-Alpha’ sessions.  Not only big in numbers – MSO tend to do everything on a grand scale.  When 35 MSO members graced the studio to record an album in late 2015, they came out with two albums worth!  ‘Sierra-Kilo-Alpha’ could only fit 11 tracks and it’s now time to share the extra 11 tracks, recorded on the same mission.

Nicky Bomba, band leader & SKA-BQ head chef states: “These new tunes could not be released until now due to quarantine issues, scientific research, musical analysis and the now patented Skattertron distillation device that can only process 11 songs at any given time! The Orchestra is thrilled to share these new discoveries and fly the ska flag a little higher following the success of the ARIA and Victorian Music Award winnings for Sierra-Kilo-Alpha.”

All 22 tracks recorded were of the award winning standard of ‘Sierra-Kilo-Alpha’. SATURN RETURN expands on the eclectic and international journey which MSO embarked on. Stand out tunes include the beautiful trio of vocals on ‘Feel The Breeze’ the rock steady ‘No Show’, ‘Mercy Lord’, which features the legendary Owen Gray (Jamaica) and the Two Tone style of ‘No Friend Of Mine’, will hit the right note for ska fans.

SATURN RETURN is presented in a Spaceship USB device containing songs, lyrics, pictures and extra vital information for the full cosmic experience!  Hit below to check it out.

The Saturn Return USB will be available at all live shows and from the MSO website


Download or stream the new album SATURN RETURN HERE

About Mary Boukouvalas 1641 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.