Ska and Charity Make For Funky Holiday Sound

Ska and Charity Make For Funky Holiday Sound

By Terrah Baker

When 18 local and professionally-trained musicians come together under the Fayetteville Ska Alliance for one holiday album, the result is fun, festive and one well-orchestrated musical production.

The album makes remaking classics like “Jingle Bells” into something worth listening to after years of overplay look easy. Until you talk to Chris Harriman, songwriter for the album, trained musician at the UA and veterinary technician at the Spay and Neuter Clinic in Springdale — the charity in which 100 percent of proceeds of the album will benefit.

Harriman explained that he personally spent about 20 hours a week writing and collaborating with Scott Cornish, fellow local musician now in Minnesota. But this wasn’t in their living room or garage; just their instruments and a sense for music. They created musical scores that they would change and manipulate based on their own ideas and direction.

“We bounced back and forth music for an entire year. The best part of making this album for me was getting to check my email and see what the song sounded like now,” Harriman said.

With a musical group including 18 musicians, they had to use their ability to write and read musical scores to keep the album sounding clean; since the first time many of the songs were played was during the only recording session at Tip of the Point Productions studio in Fayetteville. “We had five horn players. You have to orchestrate that,” Harriman said.

This is the first fundraiser and album for the Fayetteville Ska Alliance, which celebrates the style of music characterized as fast-paced rock music with reggae undertones that features a horn section. The album displays well these characteristics with three original songs, written and performed by the group, and seven traditional Christmas songs, to include arrangements of “Joy To The World,” an epic rock version of “Carol Of The Bells,” and a funky take on “Hark The Herald.”

The Fayetteville Ska Alliance hopes to raise $10,000 over the course of the holiday season, beginning with their album release party on Dec. 1 at Rogue on Dickson. The show will also feature local ska bands Six Hung Sprung and Hustles the Hall for a mini-reunion show, as well as blues band Michael Tisdale and The Union.

The show is open to those 18 years and older and has a $5 cover. For more information, visit

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