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Carnival of the Ghosts

by KOBO TOWN

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1.
SHADES OF THE LIVING We find ourselves again Shades of the sitting on a subway train We find ourselves again Shades of the living sitting on a subway train How did it ever come to this Scrolling in the shadows through the pictures of the life me miss How did it ever come to this Dreaming in the shadows Strange things pass before your sight In the glow of the blue incandescent light Shadows cast on the wall on the cave we can’t find our way out to the light of day Send these dull roots rain Make these dry bones to live again Send my dull roots rain Make these dry bones to live again Each on his own way Everyone is an island in a sea that has no name We are so self-contained Everyone is an island in a sea no one can name On that silent journey through the underground Not a word, not a sound On that journey down Asteroids in the void of space Comets which flash and fly but leave no trace Like mice caught in the maze We can’t find our way back to the starting place Send these dull roots rain Make this desert to bloom again Send my dull roots rain Make these dry bones to live again Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
2.
CARNIVAL OF THE GHOSTS One carnival, I was jumping in a band When I started feeling faint and passed out by the stand I don’t know how long I lay there on the ground But when I came to my senses there was no one else around It was the dead of night when I scrambled to feet The wind howled like a beaten dog dragging rubbish down the street Then I heard shuffling of feet and rattling of bones Saw the whole place bathed in a spectral glow Then as night follows day It was the spirits of the dead come out to play I was a man from the land of the living And I thought my senses where deceiving Because I was seeing but was not believing what was happening all around You could just imagine how I was trembling To see the spirits of the dead assembling And then to notice some of them resembling people I heard about In a big green turban was shah jahan In a quarrel with a young woman He shouting, girl you make me want to bawl I can’t believe for you I went and build the taj mahal King Herod say, eh boy don’t fret You ain’t see dotish for woman yet For two thousand years now I never ate Since I put John the Baptist head on a plate I was a man from the land of the living You could imagine just how I was feeling My knees were knocking and my mind was reeling Too frightened to scream You could imagine just how I was shaking To feel like a man now forsaken Hoping that he would just awaken From this dreadful dream By the old Roxy Theatre I saw what looked like a roman emperor It was Julius Ceasar coming down Daggers in his back laurels on his brow He said I had legions at my command And still I get stuck like a pin cushion His wife said, Jules you didn’t have no sense to know you must never turn your back on your friends I was a man from the land of the living In that carnival of the ghosts now revelling The whole while the rhythm was compelling Me to join they parade I was a man from the land of the living And I confess that my flesh was tingling To find myself now mingling In that masquerade I saw too many things to relate Shaka Zulu wining on Katherine the Great Genghis khan and Cassanova Arguing who was the greater conqueror They were prancing all around When there was a commotion the crowd It was King Henry the Eighth running for his life Being chased down the road by six angry wives I was a man from the land of the living You could imagine how it was upsetting to know there was no way of getting Back to my native land You could imagine just how I was grieving To know there was no way now of leaving So I had to abandon the plan And go jump in the dead man band Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
3.
THE GRASS IS GREENER The grass is always greener on the other side The grass is always greener on the other side The grass is always greener on the other side Sometimes you only reach over to find. A man went to the beach with his wife When a beautiful young lady passing caught his eye When she met with her man he let out a sigh Said I wish that was me and that she was mine But the man was looking right back his way With a look like his mind was about to break He said why can’t I be like that man with his wife This one she pretty but has too much strife Young Sherwayne used to dream of fame Of the day everybody would know his name So he went out, became a movie star And that is exactly what he attained Now the cameras follow him all day and night There is no private moment to the public eye he said I can’t take all this scrutiny just give me back my obscurity There was a boy looking over a wall At the next house three stories tall He said I have five brothers in this small home Man, that boy so lucky in his house alone But the next boy was staring off into space Wishing that he too could change his place He said, I would trade this big house and all these toys To run in that yard with them other boys I have a friend who lives down in town But hates the city says it too stink and loud He made a plan to get out Far from the traffic and the maddening crowd So he moved out to the country And regretted this move immediately now he so bored out of his mind So he down in the city every day and night Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
4.
DOWN BY THE WATER Ashes fall into sunlit waves Is it rest is it escape Now they sink into the deep dark deep Is it waiting is it sleep The waves are salty, just like tears Is it loss, is it relief Are you borne upwards by our prayers Are you worn down by our grief All that is must come undone Our end is certain as the setting of the sun All that wakes must come to sleep Our days are lent they are not ours to keep We go meet up down by the water Down by the water When this day is over Down by the water Now the years have run on by And when I recall your face I try and try but cannot bring to mind Some of the lines time has erased All that is must come undone The day is certain as the setting of the sun Every day must end in night Until that veil is torn which now blocks our sight Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
5.
THE HIDDEN HAND Hidden hand, hidden force in command Doesn’t have a brain but they say he has a plan Unknown, unseen, behind the scenes The cause behind the laws that affect you and me He’s the abstraction that provides the distraction That dulls the will to settle for inaction That lulls the mind to sleep like a child counting sheep Keeps the angels in the heavens and the dragons in the deep Who will provide – the hidden hand Who would decide - the hidden hand Who could deny – the hidden hand Who pulls the strings – the hidden hand Oversees everything – the hidden hand Who could override – the hidden hand The hidden hand has no tears to flow No heart guides the hand that wields control Over the fate of states, the lives of men To make his end their means and his means their end He the locomotive that supplies the motive who divides the flock between the lost and chosen Who decides who the accident of birth Will leave out in the dark or inherit the earth The hidden hand is the ghost of the age The hand that holds the pen that writes the lines on the page That holds the scripts and directs the play That waves the actors on and off the stage Some call him progress, others predestination Some class struggles, some supply and demand Some say providence, others say evolution By any name, it is all the same Call him any name You know it is all the same Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
6.
One by One 02:39
ONE BY ONE There is a rumour going round There is a rumour someone was going down There is a tension in the air Soon everybody was rushing to be there Was it true, what is the use Such outdated questions get the modern mind confused Was it true, what is the use Of a reputation when we want to be amused There is a rumour going round A rumour like a fire is spreading through the town There is a gallows in the square To serve as a warning for dissenters to beware Everyone is rushing to be there Everyone with a noble intention to declare On the square, on the little lit-up screen Where everyone clamours to be noticed, to be seen Everybody wants to be a star To be a hero in a revolutionary war Everyone just wants to shine The more we try to step out, the more we fall in line Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
7.
Time 02:48
TIME Time, you moving fast Thiefing all the sand from the hour glass Time, you you moving fast Thiefing all the sand from the hourglass There is no pretender, no contender for your crown Into dust you grind them down Against you who could last When what is present is already past Time you bad like a crab You don’t ask you reach out and grab No manners at all Always eating, belly never full So why you can’t just take a break To digest what you already ate Time, you moving fast Thiefing all the sand from the hourglass Against your hand there is no defense man, we go to great expense To hide your passing and its signs We know you don’t leave no one behind Time you bad like a beast You only give what you intend to thief You pull the tree out from the seed Then suck the green from out the leaf You pelt the sun from east to west Time, why you don’t give yourself a rest Time, why you moving so Why you always in a rush to go Everything made by our hand Is just a castle built in sand Waiting for that coming wave That will wash it all away Time, why you can’t stick around Why you always have to rush along? There is no escaping you You are the course we all run through The clock is ticking in the square To remind us all that you are there Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
8.
HERE BY CHANCE Time, you moving fast Thieving all the sand from the hour glass Time, you you moving fast Thiefing all the sand from the hourglass There is no pretender, no contender for your crown Into dirt you grind them down Against you who can hope to last When the present is already past Time you bad like a crab You don’t ask you reach out and grab No manners at all Always eating, your belly never full So why you can’t just take a break To digest what you already ate Time, you moving fast Thiefing all the sand from the hourglass Against your hand there is no defense man, we go to great expense (Dye our hair, cover wrinkle lines) To hide your passing and its sign You don’t leave noone behind Time you bad like a beast You always give what you intend to thief You pull the tree out from the seed Then suck the green from out the leaf You pelt the sun from east to west Why you don’t give yourself a rest Time, why you moving so Why you always in a rush to go Everything made by our hand Is just a castle built in sand Waiting for that coming wave That will wash it all away Time, why you can’t stick around Why you always have to rush along? There is no escaping you You are the course we all run through The clock is ticking in the square To remind us all that you are there Here by Chance So you say we’re here by chance Blind and mindless circumstance Born of an aimless accident Without a helping hand If that is so, I would rather be With my one-celled great, great granddaddy Without a worry or a care Floating in that ancient sea If I’m not duty-bound by my design Please forgive me if I am not inclined To ever lift a hand for a fellowman I wouldn’t spend the effort, wouldn’t waste the time I’d treat natural selection like divine election Wouldn’t want to tamper with nature’s laws If the conscience is a fiction, it’s a menacing malediction A spoonful of guilt which only spoils the sauce So you say we’re not alone Not heaven’s image on nature’s throne The bastard child of elements gone wild Now tragically overgrown If so, that’s great news to my ears Banish contrition, put away the tears Because I would love the chance to blame my flaws On the endless dance of effect and cause So I say we move along Leave the race to the swift, the throne to the strong Why shouldn’t the tyrant enjoy his crown If there is no higher truth to pull him down If all is pointless and random, I will stop chasing phantoms If our only end is to be food for worms No answer to the riddle? I won’t get stuck in the middle And will gladly play my fiddle while the world burns Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
9.
BOURNE’S ROAD He don’t do no work to earn his pay Night and day he like to lahay Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me You see him in town his baton in hand Walking like the only law in the land Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me Boula don’t have no conscience at all He only want to see another man fall Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me Even the ladies and all isn’t safe Anything he want he feel he could take Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me He mashing your foot, he twisting your neck Taking the life he swore to protect Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me He mashing your foot, he blacken you eye You risking your life if you ask him why Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me Boula was bound to take things too far Now he is gone to meet the Maker Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me Bury Boula for me, Bury him deep in the cemetery Bourne’s Road, bury Boula for me Written by Neville Marcano, additional lyrics by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.
10.
ALONG THE WAY That which we find easy will one day be hard That which gives us pleasure will one day leave us scarred while the things that we most treasure will be the first things we discard along the way… along the long and winding way all of our monuments will glisten in the sun which warms the sunken sediments that cover all we’ve done down on that muddy bottom over which the river runs along the way… along the long and winding way we have been clawing, scratching at our cage we wore ourselves out wrestling with the spirits of the age and when our hopes all left us with them went our rage along the way… along the long and winding way stars and atoms spinning in their fated orbits chained they go round in their fixed circles nothing lost and nothing gained while a million voices rush to tell us we are just the same along the way… along the long and winding way let us step outside the madness of this crazy, burning town let us jump into the water because the ship is going down let us wander in the wilderness till what we lost is found along the way… along the long and winding way Written by Drew Gonsalves Published by Stonetree Music, Administered Worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd.

about

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.  

credits

released April 8, 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), Stirling 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)
Design: MID51



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
www.stonetreerecords.com / www.kobotown.com

All songs published by Stonetree Music, Administered worldwide by District 6 Music Publishing Ltd

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KOBO TOWN Toronto, Ontario

Founded by Trinidadian-Canadian Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town is named after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain where calypso was born. Kobo Town takes the intricate wordplay of Caribbean music and runs it through a 21st Century filter. In the world of Kobo Town calypso, roots reggae, and acoustic instrumentation meet innovative production techniques, social commentary and indie rock attitude. ... more

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