The Harrison Festival Society’s 29th season of the performing arts continues Saturday in the Harrison Memorial Hall with Toronto-based contemporary calypso band Kobo Town.
Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town’s music has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dance hall reggae, and trombone-heavy brass” (Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism” (Exclaim).
From their home in Toronto, the Juno-nominated group has brought their distinct calypso-inspired sound to audiences across the world, from Port-of-Spain to Paris and from Montreal to Malaysia.
“This will be their third time here in Harrison,” says Harrison Festival artistic director Andy Hillhouse. “They are very popular for a good reason — they combine very clever songwriting with the kind of energetic grooves that make you get out of your seat – kind of an intelligent dance party.”
The name of the band refers to the historic neighbourhood in Port of Spain where calypso was born. Indeed, bandleader Gonsalves is steeped in calypso and its traditions, carrying forth the popular genre’s penchant for storytelling, delivering commentary on the news topics of the day through song. However the band’s arrangements are informed by a range of cosmopolitan and Caribbean styles, from reggae to ska and punk.
The concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 inside the Harrison Memorial Hall. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25 and available at harrisonfestival.com, by calling 604-796-3554, or at the Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.