Kobo Town continues to redefine calypso music and pushes the boundaries of the Caribbean sound with its fourth album, CARNIVAL OF THE GHOSTS.
Behind the running social commentary and satirical mood, this is a collection of songs about the human condition – about our quirks and foibles, our anxieties and hopes, and the haunting sense of impermanence that imbues our every moment with its urgency and priceless worth.
A few years ago, I was riding the metro in Paris to a recording session when at one stop an old fiddler stepped into the subway car and regaled its passengers with a medley of rousing tunes. He played his jigs and reels with great technical dexterity and a tasteful dramatic flair, dancing and tapping his feet all the while. For all his effort and ability, no one even looked up. In fact, so completely was he ignored, that he seemed to me like a ghost out of the past. I imagined that in his grey cap and overcoat, that he was indeed a spirit come back to playfully tease us out of our dull and joyless modernity. Then again, I pondered, maybe he was indeed the living man, and we the shades lurking in the dim self-absorbed Hades of our own making – in a place as devoid of purpose as it is of pageantry. Now, this may be a very unfair takeaway – perhaps it was familiarity which left the old fiddler without an attentive audience and the underground commuters were hearing this particular tune for the thousandth time. Whatever the case, the contrast between this smiling, dancing fiddler and the lifeless crowd of us on that subterranean train made me think many thoughts: of the sense of wonder and how easily it fades among the worries and cares that beset us all; of how important it is to rekindle it and to remain open to the spontaneous moments of grace which will intrude upon the fixed habits and routines of our lives if we will only let them.
While much of my writing has been inspired by the history that has shaped the Caribbean and its diaspora, leaving its marks and scars and in all our manners and doings, this album takes a wider look at our human condition - here the lingering past is not just beneath the surface of the present, it is also something we are all quickly becoming a part of. Some of the songs offer a running commentary on our quirks and foibles, about the misuse of power and rush to judgement, about the stubborn tendency to always want what we don’t have, and about how an easy determinism and a casual purposelessness leave us living lives suspended between anxiety and inaction. But the common thread running through all is a feeling of impermanence: this is an album about the swift passing of time, the unceasing rhythm of that clock whose swinging pendulum marks the moods and movements of any age, which humbles our greatest endeavours and endows every fleeting moment with a value beyond measure.
releases February 11, 2022
Drew Gonsalves: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Cuatro, Banjolin and Percussion
Robert Milicevic: Drums, Backing Vocals
Patrick Giunta: Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals and Percussion
Don Stewart: Backing Vocals
Jan Morgan: Trumpet, Flugelhorn and Trombone
Terence Woode: Trombone
Derek Thorne: Percussion
Stéphane Montigny: Trombone (Gaudet France)
Al Ovando: Electric Guitar, Jaw Bone
Ernestine Carballo: Backing Vocals
Rolando “Chichiman” Sosa: Backing Vocals, Percussion
Ivan Duran: Electric Guitar, Keys and Effects
Eli Levinson: Samples and Drums
Idris Gonsalves: Drums on “One by One”
Anit Ghosh: Strings on “Carnival of the Ghosts” and “Along the Way”
Vince Halfhide: Guitar on “Down by the Water” and Hidden Hand”
Zachary Giunta: Backing Vocals on “Down by the Water”
Produced by Ivan Duran
All songs written and arranged by Drew Gonsalves
Additional arrangements by Ivan Duran
Recorded and Mixed at Stonetree Studios in Montreal, Canada and Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize
Additional recordings at Bad Harvest Studios and Chalet Marquette (Montreal), Striling Studio and Aerie Studio (Ottawa).
Recorded and Mixed by Ivan Duran.
Additional engineering by Al Ovando, Max Desmarais, Patrick Giunta, Eli Levinson and Anit Ghosh
Mastered by Ryan Morey at Ryan Morey Mastering, Montreal
Cover Illustration: Carnival on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain, 1888 by Melton Prior (1845-1910)
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada, and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.
c & p 2022 Stonetree Records, all rights reserved
All songs published by Stonetree Music, Administered worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd