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Kobo Town



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... the gift of mockery with which I'm cursed is just an insect biting Fame behind, a vermin swimming in a glass of wine, that, dipped out with a finger, bound to bite its saving host, ungrateful parasite, whose sting, between the cleft arse and its seat, reminds Authority man is just meat... Derek Walcott, The Spoiler's Return

Founded by bandleader Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town is named after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where traditional calypso (kaiso) was born amid the boastful, humourous and militant chants of the roaming stickfighters. 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. For the members of the eight-piece outfit, the name suggests an origin as well as a destination.

Exploring the rich lyrical tradition and compelling rhythms of calypso's formative years - the age of the Roaring Lion, Mighty Spoiler, Lord Invader, King Radio and Attila the Hun - Kobo Town strives to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of their art by engaging the pressing concerns of our time. Domestic violence, the US war on Iraq, the paradoxes of globalization, the ongoing state of Caribbean dependency, and the bittersweet experience of immigration are all treated within their wide and varied repertory.

Calypso is an art that developed in dialogue with other musical forms. The members of Kobo Town, who come to calypso from all over the musical map, hope to continue and extend this tradition of rhythmic and melodic cross-pollination. While rooted in old time calypso and various West Indian folk musics, their music also draws heavily on dub poetry, roots reggae, zouk, son montuno, funk and jazz.

For Kobo Town, Trinidad's musical heritage is a living, growing body of work, with a continuing importance in their lives, the West Indies and the world. While exploring new sounds and arrangements, their songs resonate with the satire, storytelling and social concern that lie at the center of Trinidad's national art.


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album coverKOBO TOWN: Independence

Drawing its inspiration from traditional calypso, roots reggae and dub, Kobo Town's music explores the rich lyrical tradition and compelling rhythms of calypso's formative years - the age of the Roaring Lion, Mighty Spoiler, Lord Invader...

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