OVER the last half century or so reggae has seeped its way into the bedrock of the St Paul's area of Bristol and become the music of the people, so it seems perfectly natural that a community orchestra has sprung from those fertile pastures to take the music forward into a new era.

The orchestra comprises 30 amateur and professional musicians from all sorts of backgrounds who play a wonderful mix of ska, reggae and anything else they fancy – jazz plays its part, as does world music in general.

On Saturday they started with an original ska composition that could have easily come from the Skatalites back catalogue; easy skanking indeed.

Their interaction with the community was immediately evident when we were treated to a little Persian reggae, with an accordion player and an impassioned vocalist joining them on stage to produce some powerful, haunting melodies which almost stole the show.

However, we were soon back on track with a very groovy version of Watermelon Man and it got even better with their rendering of Aswad’s Shine. It was nice to hear them cut loose and really let rip because there were times when the music seemed a bit too polite.

The orchestra were advertised as being the perfect antidote to the January blues and they did the job very well.

I’d like to see them on a sunny afternoon at Larmer Tree Festival, they would go down a treat.