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Genre: Calypso | Roots Reggae | Dub | World

Sounds Like / Would Open For: Roaring Lion, King Radio, Eddie Grant, Jolly Boys, Manu Chao, Barbarito Torres, Steel Pulse, Yellowman, David Rudder, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mutabaruka, The Orishas, Mighty Sparrow, K-os, Salif Keita, Boukman Eksperyans, Kassav, Anthony B, Diblo Dibala & Matchatcha, Jane Bunnett & The Spirits of Havana, Les Nubians, Ozomatli, Richard Bona, Ruben Blades, Baaba Maal, Alpha Yaya Diallo

Location: Toronto, Canada

Management: Eric de Fontenay, MusicDish Network


" Independence" Picked As #3 Groove Album Of 2007 By Exclaim!

" Nominated for Best World Artist-Group by The 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards

" Winner of Best World Song for "Corbeaux Following" by the 2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards


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.

Radio Appearances

CBC (Cadanian Broadcasting Corporation)
September 7, 2007: Canada Live
September 4, 2007: Metro Morning
September 1 & 2, 2007: FUSE
August 3, 2007: Q
July 21, 2007: Bandwidth
June 16 & 17, 2007: FUSE
April 15, 2007: Vinyl Cafe
April 14, 2007: Bandwidth
March 17, 2007: Bandwidth (for Canadian Music Week)
December 8, 2007: Sounds of the Season
October 28, 2007: Big City Small World
March 30, 2006: Big City Small World

CKUT (Montreal)
CFUV (Victoria)
CFRO (Vancouver)
CHUO (Ottawa)
CKCU (Ottawa)
KAOS 89.3FM (Washington)
WFMU 91.1 FM (New York)
BBC World Service: Charlie Gillet's World Of Music
RadioEins: Planet Fruit (Germany)
Radio Upper Galilee 94.4 (Israel/Palestine)
World/Folk Top Ten Charts CKUT (Montreal)
Big City, Small World (CBC 99.1)
Liming in de African Diaspora (CKLN 88.1)
Island Breeze (CIUT 89.5)
Global Rhythms (CIUT 89.5)
Caribbean Connection (CHIN 100.7)
Smooth Jazzy Grooves (CHRY 105.5)
The Chillcast with Anji Bee Episode 33


Nostalgia Café, Ottawa, Ontario
Mercury Lounge, Ottawa, Ontario
Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) Showcase, London, Ontario
Le Petit Chicago, Gatineau, Quebec
La Sala Rosa, Montreal, Quebec
CBC: Canada Live, Barrymore's, Toronto, Ontario
Vermont Roots Reggae Festival, Coventry, Vermont
Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, British Columbia
Ottawa Folk Festival, Ontario
Live From The Rock, Red Rock, Ontario
Blue Skies Folk Festival, Clarendon, Ontario
Island Soul, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Celebrate Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario
London Sunfest, Ontario
Montreal Jazz Festival, Quebec
Lula Lounge,Toronto, Ontario
Luminato Festival, Distillery District, Toronto, Ontario
Milton 150th Anniversary Celebration, Downtown Milton, Ontario
Barrymore's Music Hall, Ottawa, Ontario



Independence, MusicDish (2006)
download one sheet
Retail: Amie Street | CD Baby

Press Quote

"Intoxicating calypso rhythms held straight with a reggae backbone is the best way to describe this Toronto based group's sound... One of the most beautifully intelligent releases...ever!"
Monk, IndependentsOnly

"Kobo Town has created something unique, a rarity in today's musical environment fraught with the cannibalism of music styles, little innovation or even creativity."
Mark Kirby, MusicDish eJournal

"Fans of Caribbean music, world music in general, and meaningful songwriting should grab this CD... It's a beauty." Blogcritics

"Kobo Town is set to unleash a new musical style on the world with a fusion of old and new traditions from the West Indies. Lead singer/songwriter Drew Gonsalves' vividly melodic lyrics backed with a heavy bass and rhythm section inspire people to move both physically and spiritually."
Karam Debly, National Urban Columnist, Canadian Music Network

more Kobo Town press


Kobo Town - Storytelling Trailer

Behind the scenes w/ Kobo Town, Toronto's Calypso Revival Band

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