Kobo Town | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Kobo Town Recommended All Ages Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Sept. 4, 8:30 p.m. 2013

Drew Gonsalves was raised in a middle-class neighborhood in the suburbs of Port of Spain, the biggest city in Trinidad, and when he was 13 his mother fled an abusive spouse, taking him and his siblings to her native Canada. The island’s calypso sound had ingrained itself in Gonsalves, though, and a decade ago he tried it on for size under the name Kobo Town; since then he’s been adapting the style to his own ends, with mixed results. His most recent album, Jumbie in the Jukebox (Stonetree/Cumbancha), was produced by Ivan Duran, who’s also worked with Garifuna musicians Andy Palacio and Aurelio Martinez, but Gonsalves attempts a Manu Chao-style mashup, juggling calypso and reggae with a hip-hop sensibility. It’s well-made and catchy, but its mellow, good-time vibe and rosy nostalgia—on “Kaiso Newscast” Gonsalves fantasizes about the bygone days when calypso was a vehicle for the oral transmission of news—drain the music of much of its vivacity. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10 suggested donation

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