Kobo Town | Trinidad & Tobago
There are few things more aurally pleasing than hearing one ‘music culture’ mix influences with another. Here at TETO World Music, we strive to find musical innovation and Kobo Town have done just that. Creating a compelling mixture between Reggae, Calypso and Indie Rock, it is hard not to be hooked by the energetic sound they bring to the turn-table.
Lead by Drew Gonsalves, this Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter moved to Toronto at the age of thirteen and began to instantly adapt to his musical surroundings. This happened due to his engagement with music that his peers were actively listening to- mainly comprising of American and British Rock. Many years down the line, Gonsalves began maturing into an inspired musician; he did however begin to miss his cultural roots and thus created the band Kobo Town in 2004. The name of the band refers to a small area in South America where Calypso is thought to have been born, paving a road of nostalgia for Gonsalves and his culturally rich music.
“Calypso is the folk music of urban Trinidad,” shares Gonsalves, “it was the music that spoke, not only to us, but like us. It was full of gossip and innuendo and addressed every topic under the Sun, from every possible angle. It also delivered its ideas with wit and humour. Political song-writing can get so self-righteous and dour, and it was always refreshing to hear it done with a laugh and a smile.”
With this statement as a foundation for their inspiration, Kobo Town have released their second album, ‘Jumbie in the Jukebox’ in April 2013. The album name refers to the Jumbie, a spirit in Trinidadian folklore. According to Gonsalves, “A Jumbie fulfils many roles. It’s used to frighten children, sort of like the Boogie Man. It also evokes a sense of mystery about the world and all of the strange forces that influence its course.” For ‘Jumbie in the Jukebox’, Kobo Town worked with Ivan Duran who produced the album and brought to the band a fresh perspective and a new-found inspiration. This album holds an intriguing account of the best and worst aspects of human nature; featuring highly relatable lyrics such as the ones heard in “The Call”, which go on to show how love is the foundation of life. This is contrasted by the old-fashioned Calypso track “Mr. Monday”; portraying a victim that has a mental illness, which forces him to recycle bottles to make ends meet. This all encapsulating album is full of catchy melody lines, groove-ridden Dancehall rhythms, retrospective lyrics and just the right amount of horn-stabs to drive them into your playlist.
After first hearing about Kobo Town, it was immediately obvious that their approach to music deserves a feature in TETO World Music. This thought was confirmed by the amount of times their album has been on repeat since they first approached us.
Article by Teto Parvanov – TETO World Music Magazine