The Jolly Boys
Before ska, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall, mento was the original indigenous Jamaican recorded music. Similar but distinct to Trinidad’s Calypso, mento bands played and sang bawdy humorous and entertaining songs whose spirit would be reflected many years later when dancehall rose in the 1980s. One of the foremost still active mento bands is Port Antonio’s Jolly Boys. Formed in 1945 the group performed at the Jamaican residence of vintage Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, has continued for nearly 75 years and is the house band at Port Antonio’s GeeJam hotel. As well as singing mento standards, the Jolly Boys released a 2010 album Great Expectation, fashioning mento cover versions of songs by the Clash, Amy Winehouse and Iggy Pop.