Independence (Kobo 001, 2006)
I sought out this CD on a whim, having read a positive review elsewhere. I expected it to at least be pretty good and am instead pleased to report it’s well into the realm of great. A mixture of calypso, reggae and Latin rhythms, the music of Toronto-based Kobo Town scores high marks not only for infectious grooves but for lyrics that are unfailingly both conscientious and clever.
Lead singer/guitarist/composer Drew Gonsalves hails from Trinidad and uses his homeland’s 45 years of independence as a jumping-off point for these songs that lash out against oppression and materialism while uplifting self-worth and spirituality.
Gonsalves has a deftly engaging, Caribbean-accented voice that fills every rhythm and rhyme full of urgent yet whimsical energy, riding his band’s swinging foundation of bass, drums, percussion, flute, soprano sax, trumpet and violin with graceful conviction.
I’ll not bother with descriptions of specific songs ’cause they’re all beauties. This disc would likely have made my Top 10 of 2006 had I known about it at the time, so I’ll now make up for any oversight by saying that Independence will stir your soul, warm your heart, free your mind and render your body unable to keep still. Kobo Town deserve to be the talk of the town.