The APAP Conference is rapidly approaching and this year’s event will be held at the Hilton in NYC from January 11th-15th. The Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference is arguably the most anticipated international convening of the performing arts community. Besides the long list of events happening at the Hilton during the five days of the event, there will be over 1,000 artist showcases throughout the city. One particular group to look out for is the calypso / roots reggae band Kobo Town who will be performing for free as part of the Mundial Montréal showcase on January 12th at the Living Room.
Founded by Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town embodies the sound & spirit of classic calypso & Caribbean music, touching upon the timeless style of the Roaring Lion, Mighty Spoiler, Lord Invader, King Radio and Attila the Hun. The name, Kobo Town, refers to the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain where calypso was born. Gonsalves, a Trinidadian of Portuguese descent, grew up just outside of Port-of-Spain. He moved to Canada with his family at the age of 13. Once he was in Canada, he joined other Trinidadian expats and musicians from the Caribbean diaspora living in Canada to form a group that celebrated the heart and soul of calypso music.
“Calypso is the English folk music of urban Trinidad. And the calypsonian, or calypso singer, is like a singing newspaper that comments on the events of the time. His role is halfway between court jester and griot.” – Drew Gonsalves
Kobo Town released their debut album in 2005 and are ready to follow it up with Jumbie in the Jukebox, which is due to be released in May by Stonetree Records and Cumbancha. The jumbie referred to in the title is a spirit found in Trinidadian folklore. A bogeyman-like character that is used to frighten children into compliance, the jumbie also evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue about the universe and the mystical forces at work. Kobo Town are at their best on this upcoming release, which is chock full of Caribbean grooves and biting social commentary. Their live presence is terrific, but don’t take my word for it. Check out this great video of Kobo Town performing “Half of the Houses” at the Festival Musique Metises in Angouleme, France. Don’t miss their show at the Living Room on January 12th.