It’s an energetic, hip-swinging, hand-clapping Caribbean groove with a story to boot, and Kobo Town is bringing it to Errington.
The Toronto-based calypso band will be performing at Errington hall Nov. 3, bringing some choice new tracks from their latest album released in February, Where the Galleon Sank.
Along with Don Stewart on bass, Robert Milicevic on drums, Linsey Wellman on saxophone and Jan Morgan on trumpet and trombone, Trinidadian-Canadian Drew Gonsalves (lead vocal, guitar, cuatro) promises an exciting but intimate performance that brings people alive with Caribbean stories.
Gonsalves grew up in Trinidad, where calypso was born. Though he grew up listening to it, it wasn’t until after he came to Canada at age 13 that he started gaining an interest in the genre.
“When I came here, I was kind of an introverted, bookish teenager,” he said with a laugh. “I started reading a lot about the history of the Caribbean and Trinidad… and one of the things that really stuck with me about calypso is how well it told the story of that society.
“I guess the thing that really struck me about it, too, besides the rhythm and the melody which can be so catchy and exuberant is also the sense of humour,” said Gonsalves.
“It was lovely to hear music that could be very topical and very heavy without becoming self-important and without losing its sense of humour.”
The Juno-nominated group has just come out with a new album that Gonsalves described as more energetic and grittier than previous offerings, with a greater ska influence.
“History is the real muse of this record,” he said before describing how he came up with the title while travelling out on the Gulf of Paria between Trinidad and Venezuela.
“We were passing all these sunken ships, and I was thinking about how much of our history was, like I guess that of any other maritime people, buried under the ocean. So a lot of the songs take moments or places of significance in the history of the Caribbean or its diaspora as sort-of a springboard… as the beginning points to explore wider themes in the album.”
While Gonsalves said calypso has often been a vehicle for political or social commentary, he said he doesn’t have too specific of a message with the album overall, save one.
“One of the things that I always try to scratch at is the depth of the past there, you know. It’s been very heavy in many ways, right. But in many ways it makes the culture that came about out of it seem even more and more exuberant.”
Kobo Town plays at Errington War Memorial Hall on Friday, Nov. 3 starting at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $25, and can be purchased at the Errington General Store, Cranky Dog Music, Heaven on Earth Natural Foods in Qualicum Beach, the Errington Store or online at erringtonhall.tickit.ca.