On the borders of ska

[email protected] [email protected] reappropriate ska music tropes for women’s reproductive rights in the South Texas music scene


  • Steven Stendebach Bowling Green State University




Rio Grande Valley, Punk, ska, borderland, music scene


On Tales from the Border: Skank for Choice (2019), a benefit album to support local reproductive rights organizations in Rio Grande Valley, Texas band [email protected] [email protected] position their music and ska in general as an explicitly activist space. Despite calling the album and accompanying concert ‘ska themed’, musically, the album features little of ska’s elements: upstroke rhythms, prominent brass and walking bass lines—the hallmarks of ska music—are all absent. Instead, the album offers three hardcore tracks, before the band’s drummer takes center stage and delivers three bilingual hip-hop songs. This article seeks to understand what ‘ska’ as a signifier means in this context. It posits that [email protected] [email protected] utilizes double meanings, such as ‘skank’ in the title and a feminist pseudonym, to gesture toward both ska’s history and feminist activism. Ultimately, this highlights the anti-racist and anti-colonial moments in the genre’s history, while also posing a corrective to the depoliticized ‘third-wave ska’ sound.

Author Biography

Steven Stendebach, Bowling Green State University

Steven Stendebach is a doctoral student in American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University.


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How to Cite

Stendebach, S. (2022). On the borders of ska: [email protected] [email protected] reappropriate ska music tropes for women’s reproductive rights in the South Texas music scene. Popular Music History, 14(3), 268–282. https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.18872