Online Ticket Sales now available at ErringtonHall.Tickit.ca
Founded by Trinidadian/Canadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town is named after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain where calypso was born amid the boastful, humorous, and militant chants of roaming stick-fighters. Situated near the fishermen’s wharf, the area was a site of constant defiance and conflict, a place where sticks and stones, songs, and verses clashed with the bayonets and batons of colonial rule.
Gonsalves grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Diego Martin, a town just outside of Trinidad’s biggest city, Port of Spain. “Diego Martin is a valley in the northern range, which is very green with a little contaminated river running through it, and that was the playground of our youth,” Gonsalves recalls. His mother is originally from Quebec City, Canada and had met Drew’s father in Barbados on a trip when he was visiting family. A few days later, they were engaged and she came to Trinidad where Gonsalves was born. “In Trinidad, we were surrounded by calypso but like most kids of my age, I was not interested in it,” Gonsalves recalls. “I secretly liked calypso, but I was discrete about it.”
When he was 13, Drew’s mother brought him and his siblings to Ottawa, Canada. The sudden move to a new (and cold) world where he didn’t fit in led Gonsalves to cultivate a deep nostalgia for the land of his birth. “My curiosity about Trinidad led me to read a lot about the Caribbean and its history, the kind of legacy it bestowed upon us. When I first returned to Trinidad I was eighteen and I went back to visit my father for the summer. Going back with older eyes, I was more able to place in context all of the things that I took for granted when I was growing up. On that first trip home my father took me to Lord Kitchener’s Calypso Revue tent, held in the Oil Workers Trade Union Hall in Port of Spain,” remembers Gonsalves. “I was blown away by the cleverness and the wit of these calypsonians and also their engaging interplay with the audience. I had never experienced anything like it and, from that point on, calypso was always on my mind.”
Gonsalves started writing his own calypsos and visiting calypso tents every time he visited Trinidad. In 2004, he put together the Juno-winning band Kobo Town with some fellow Trini expats in Toronto and musicians from his first band, Outcry. He says of Kobo town’s music, “It is calypso inspired and derived, but it’s a conscious departure from the way it developed back home. Calypso is the folk music of urban Trinidad, but it has always drawn on outside influences, from big band and jazz in the 30s and 40s, to funk and disco in the 70s and 80s. It’s hard to pin down pure calypso. For me, the calypsonian is a singing newspaperman commenting on the events of the day, with an attitude halfway between court jester and griot.”
One thing we do know from Kobo Town’s past visit to the Errington Hall – they’re one fabulous dance band!
Review: “Kobo Town resurrects, reinvigorates and redefines calypso for the new millennium.”
Tickets are $25 at Shades of Green, Errington Store, and $27.50 online at https://ErringtonHall.Tickit.ca.
Kids ages 6 to 12 are $5 at the door; free under age 6.
Home baked goodies, ginger tea and Creekmore’s coffee are available from the kitchen.