Named after the historic Port-of-Spain neighborhood in Trinidad where calypso was born, Kobo Town has been described as “an intoxicating mix of licked calypsonian spirit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy horns” (Guardian). Since its inception in 2005, the band, based in Toronto, has brought its calypso sound and ska inspiration to audiences around the world.
Kobo Town is led by Drew Gonsalves, a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist whose music has been covered by many other artists, including Carlos Santana, Manu Chao and Calypso Rose. At once disturbing and joyous, intensely poetic and highly danceable, the group’s songs are rooted in the rich tradition of Caribbean musical storytelling and are delivered with an indomitable energy that has thrilled audiences from Montreal to Malaysia and from Havana to Berlin.
To date, the Juno and Polaris Music Prize winners have released three albums and are about to release their fourth, Carnival of the Ghosts, in the spring of 2022. While the band’s previous albums were inspired by the often tragic history of the Caribbean, this album takes a look at the broader human condition, focusing on the quirks and quirks, vices and virtues that can be found anywhere and anytime. Inspired by the vision of an old violinist playing a series of catchy tunes to an indifferent audience on the subway, the new album is an eclectic collection of songs.
Musically, the album you’ll discover on the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique is a veritable mix of Caribbean sounds, where calypso melodies and ska horn hooks clash over reggae and soca bass grooves, all set against a backdrop of dirty electric guitars with hints of zouk and montuno sound.