The Duppies are a high-powered, seven-piece band formed in Gainesville in 2004. Since that time, this popular ska, rocksteady and reggae band has received the attention of audiences beyond the local scene by touring throughout the United States. Band members include The Duppies founder, Brian Hiebel (lead vocals/percussion), Tony Farah (bass), Ryan Bonner (keyboards), Daniel Kinney (drums), Chris Chiares (guitar) and Jose Pineiro (sax/backing vocals).
Ska music was born in Jamaica in the 1950s, predating rocksteady and reggae. It combines the Jamaican folk music styles mento and calypso with jazz and R&B. Ska frequently resurfaces in popular culture infused with different music genres. One of the most successful recent combinations is ska and punk, which achieved its greatest popularity in the 1990s. In the mid-1960s, ska transformed into the more sophisticated sounding rocksteady, which emphasized a heavy base line and finally, by the end of the decade, into the more familiar reggae form.
The band’s name is taken from the Jamaican word duppy, which in Jamaican folklore is described as “an unruly spirit risen from a consecrated grave; a ghost; a poltergeist.” The Duppies say their music has been known to send audiences into “frenetic dancing spasms that can only be described as musical convulsions of the soul.”