Trinidad via Toronto

From my feature on neo-calypsonians Kobo Town in today’s Sunday Times [paywalled]:

‘No song composed outside Trinidad is a calypso.” So said the island’s most famous son, VS Naipaul — something of a connoisseur — in an essay written half a century ago. Well, perhaps he and the rest of the purists have a point: the lyrics are often full of arcane local references that baffle out­siders. But even the sternest traditionalists would have to admit that the Toronto-based Kobo Town have given this distinctive genre — part poetry, part newspaper, part street-corner gossip — a vibrant new lease of life. Incorporating dub reggae, funk and R&B, their new album, Jumbie in the Jukebox (Jumbie being wayward spirits of Caribbean folklore) is sure to find its way into the end-of-year top 10 selections. The band’s leader and guitarist, Drew Gonsalves — a middle-class “Trini” who left the island as a boy when his Canadian mother returned home after her marriage broke up — is a sharp-eyed lyricist with literary tastes, a social conscience and a knack for writing uncomplicated but muscular melodies.

And here’s the band’s song “Mr Monday”.


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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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