When the Jamaican Military Band traveled to New Foundland in 1961, three years prior to the formation of The Skatalites, Lester Sterling was a member of the band. He was surprised to find the audience requesting Island music. In spite of this eye opening experience, for years, even the best Kingston producers primarily targeted their sounds to Jamaican dancehalls, with little thought paid to an international audience.
When The Skatalites played St. Petersburg, Russia in 2001, the band was surprised by the international response. One pair of Russian musicians traveled over 8000 miles by train from Vladavirstock, playing their own brand of Russian acoustic reggae along the way to help pay their travel expenses. Latin American fans have been known to journey all the way to Europe to catch a glimpse of the founders of ska, who rarely play South America, which is having a ska renaissance. Japan is ska mad too, where tribute band The Skaflames have a solid following and have shared the stage with the ska forefathers. On a recent Skatalites tour in Japan, one young Japanese woman arrived with sax in hand, songs memorized, ready to play along.