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Where The Galleon Sank

by Kobo Town

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Kobo Town brings the past to the surface on Where the Galleon Sank

Drew Gonsalves was on a boat when the idea came to him. The Kobo Town bandleader was heading out on the Gulf of Paria, a pocket of the Caribbean Sea which stretches between Trinidad and Venezuela, when he spotted the rusted wreck of an old barge beneath the surface.

"Looking down I was struck by how much of our history - like that sunken vessel - lies buried under waves, its outline barely visible in the blue shadows", the Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter observes in his liner notes to Kobo Town's long awaited third album, Where the Galleon Sank. Gonsalves continues: "Beneath this much traversed patch of ocean lie Spanish galleons, slaving ships, pirogues (fishing boats), oil tankers and even U-Boat submarines – all covered by that vast water which serves as both a barrier and bridge between our islands and the wider world."

The barriers and bridges built by the colonial rule that governed Trinidad have long been at the heart of Drew Gonsalves' much acclaimed writing. On "Galleon", he sets out to raise some of that hidden past to the surface. He named his band Kobo Town after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain where calypso was born. Over the past decade, the Toronto-based musician has reinvigorated and reimagined calypso, infusing this Caribbean folk music with reggae, ska, and an array of contemporary sounds to create Kobo Town's driving, joyous calypso rock.

On his new release, Gonsalves continues to explore 500 years of history through his Trinidadian lens, armed with his trademark wit and gift for melody. Belizean maverick producer Ivan Duran - integral to the success of 2013's Jumbie in the Jukebox - is once again manning the console, creating a warm, percolating, richly layered sound. The making of "Galleon", recorded in Montreal, Toronto and Belize, was delayed when Gonsalves and Duran became involved in one of the biggest musical comeback stories of 2016. Along with Manu Chao, they co-wrote and produced one of their childhood musical heroes, Trinidadian legend Calypso Rose, whose new album has already gone gold in France.

As on Kobo Town's two previous outings, "Galleon" is filled with buoyant music that stimulates both body and mind; propulsive, infectious grooves are juxtaposed with incisive lyrics that expose human folly and our tendency to repeat our mistakes. Part poet, part correspondent, Gonsalves delivers compelling dispatches from events both real and imaginary. "King Sugar" recounts the end of the sugarcane export which shaped the Caribbean, reminding us that today's extraction economies may not last forever. "Karachi Burning" is a first-hand account of the fiery expressions of grief after Pakistan's prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. "Smokestacks and Steeples" is a remarkable overview of the forces that shaped much of modern mankind - ingeniously crammed into a 3-minute pop song!

Kobo Town is a vehicle for taking Gonsalves' penetrating calypso journalism to the dance floor but, on "Galleon", another, more spiritual, side of the affable front man is also on display. "Before the Day Star" sees Gonsalves deliver a moving tribute to the human spirit, and the hushed final track "As They Sleep" paints a scene of perfection, serenity and gratitude as the singer watches his children sleep. The exquisite album closer is made all the more arresting as the very last note of the record is one of ambiguity and uncertainty. As if to say, don't take anything for granted. Enjoy it all while there's still time.


released February 10, 2017

Produced by Ivan Duran
Written and Arranged by Drew Gonsalves
Recorded and Mixed at Breakglass Studios and Stonetree Studios in Montreal and Belize
Additional recordings at Rier Studio (Toronto) and Happy Rock Studios (Wakefield,ON)
Recorded by James Benjamin, Ross Murray, Dennis De Souza, Al Ovando and Ivan Duran
Audio editing by Maxime Hervé at La Hacienda, Montreal.
Mixed by Ivan Duran at Stonetree Studios
Mastered by Joao Carvalho at Joao Carvalho Mastering, Toronto
Album Photography: Paul Wright , Inside photo by Shawn Escayg
Design: MID51

Drew Gonsalves: lead vocals, guitar, cuatro, percussions
Robert Milicevic: drums, backing vocals
Cesco Emmanuel: guitar
Linsey Wellman: baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, backing vocals
Patrick Giunta: bass, guitar
Don Stewart: backing vocals
James Benjamin: backing vocals
Jan Morgan: trumpet
Terence Woode: trombone
Danilo Rodriguez: trombone
Al Ovando: guitar
Ivan Duran: bass, guitar

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

This recording was made possible through the assistance of the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts.



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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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Track Name: London Town
London, you are not quite what I expected
I beg your pardon if I seem dejected
from the colony you one neglected
outside child coming home
america had the muscle but you had the mind
they had the hustle but you had the design
that wound worlds together like rope from twine
I thought as I walked up the Serpentine

we once wanted to be like you
bowler hats, garbadine suits
now we ape and empire closer to home
mimic men, to the end, you bred it in our bones
we were the margin, you were the metropole
we were the fragment, you were the whole
we were the flesh, you were the mind and soul
at least that is how we heard the story told

London, your sun is set
but the night has not quite fallen yet
all the stars once caught in your galaxy
flicker like lamps here in your city
in you London town
walking the streets, history crashing all around….

long time, London, since your flag came down
long time since we moved along
but now I see just how entwined
we were left by the years that we left behind
with you, Londontown…..
Track Name: When Jonas Saw The Light
when Jonas saw the light did he take fright
did he recoil when it seemed to spoil his mood
when Jonas met that dawn, did he curse the sun that shone
upon that gloom which he consumed like it was food

did Jonas regret the years spent in that vale of tears
which he would not let himself leave behind
and did Jonas shut his ears from the singing of the spheres
or did it soothe his overused and aching mind

high above the town
what did he see when he looked down
at the edge of space
did he look down to see he had a place
and of the faces rushing by
as he scaled the summit of the sky
of those flying past
did one linger as the last

when Jonas met that day was he dismayed
did he bid it go away, wish it was night
or was Jonas overjoyed to be flung into that void
where all he knew vanished from view, slipped from his sight

did Jonas lament at last how quick his days had passed
did he mourn to be torn from them so soon
and did Jonas have a care from those now waiting there
gathered in his dim and silent room

up through the thinning air
did his sight become more clear
did he alight upon that place
that could erase his pride and pain
and in those starlit climes
did he reflect on misspent times
did he wish he could undo his days
and live them all again

when Jonas saw the light.....
Track Name: King Sugar
king sugar dead
that's is what they said
king sugar
eh,eh come again

from the cane to the rum, now rum to kingdom come
it was the reason we came from where we came from
from the carrack to the barrack, to press out the syrup
to send the best away and drink the rest as guarap
glucose, fructose, maltose, overdose
last mill closed, old king comatose
so from island to island and coast to coast
gone is the king that sat on the throne

long was his reign, the years of lash and chain
horn blown in the night to start the canboulay
where flames burn night and day keeping snakes at bay
to sweeten cakes a continent away
none mourned his demise, bittersweet enterprise
none surprised to see the king capsize
so from island to island and coast to coast
gone is the sovereign that held the throne
while rum glowed like gold in the glasses
blood flowed thick and slow like molasses
gilded age, birds sang in the cage,
but time is always turning another page
kingdom overgrown in the grasses
none can hold back time as it passes
of his domain all that remains
are ruins standing in fields of cane
Track Name: Guayaguayare
i dreamt a long and lonely bay
first to catch the light of day
as dawn comes rushing over waves
in Guayaguayare

first stop of those who, passing through,
declared the world they found was new
you almost might believe it to
in Guayaguayare

three sails went by, not long ago,
years of fire to unfold
the embers are still growing cold
at Guayaguayare

black as oil, yellow as gold
the sands spell dangers to the soul
thy are grey as death if truth be told
in Guayagauyare

row on row of green crowned trees
len out over tossing seas
as if pulled back by memories
in Guayaguayare

and when the dawn begins to break
its light refracted by the spray
send colours rolling over waves
across the silent bay
across the silent bay
across the silence broken by
the coming of the day

I dreamt a far forgotten bay
whose long and winding name remain
to tell us of a vanished age
Track Name: Scarborough Girl
january, frozen winter day
down by the bus stop dancing the cold away
bitter wind, blowing the snow around
but she don’t notice she’s captured by the sound
coming through headphones from far away
songs that bring the light and sing the green of day
sounds stream making her troubles seem
to be passing like a dream

midnight, busy hospital floor
worn down, doesn’t know how she will endure
tomorrow’s day shift at the grocery store
but for the children she would do all that and more
hoe for a quick change of uniform
time to kiss two cheeks and rush out the door
manager uptight, ready to fight,
he don’t know what she does it for

mother dear, whatever brought you here
to this place so far from all that you held near
I know it was hard, you never let your worries show,
mother dear, you are so much stronger that you know….
Track Name: Strange Dream
the other night I had a dream
strange and portentious it did seem
the other night I had a dream
strange and portentious it did seem
a man in a top hat with stars and stripes
was dancing with a lady all dressed in white
and as the crowd gathered around
man, they were the talk and toast of the town

we ent going home before day morning
not until the sun is high in he sky
we ent going home before day morning

the band was playing on
the gent and the dame dancing up a storm
she waving a flambeau in she hand
he plotting to win her affection
a bulldog was barking by she feet
and he beat it like an old pothound in the street
and as the crown started to cheer
he get brave and he fighting condor and bear

this display of courage and might
made the young lady to scream with delight
so he started making outrageous claims
in an attempt to further impress the dame
he said “come leh we travel in class
from the Berlin Wall to the Khyber Pass
and when get tired of the West Indies
we go bathe in the Tigris and Euphrates...”

by the end of the dance
interest had bloomed into romance
which soon turned to jealousy
he didn't want no one else talking to she
he said come leh we build a home
she said she could belong to no man alone
in a rage he cuffed the dame to the ground
and the fire from the torch burned the whole place down
Track Name: What The Sea Remembers
on this place by the shore
could ask for nothing more
this place by the shore
can't help but suspect something more
lies way down in the deep
long hidden by the sea
way down in the gloom
where ships and seamen met their doom
remnants of that golden tide
which drew men across the ocean wide
left by those times
which these wide waters try to hide
down in the deep where colours fade
where slaving ships and pirate raids
left silver coins and rusted chains
half eaten by the waves

what the sea remembers
is all it takes away
what the sea remembers
will it spit it out some day
what the sea remembers
it buries in the blue
what the sea remembers could have been me and you.

on the place by the shore
I sense something long obscured
worn by the wash of time
half-eaten by the salty brine
if you look close you could see
the outline of that history
which if you look close you could see
is a reflection there of you and me
because we really never step outside
the world these waters try to hide
not on this windy shore
where natures elements collide
but when the waves reached for you
I could not share you with the blue
no, you were mine to keep
no, not for you the hungry deep

what the sea remembers
is all it takes away
what the sea remembers
will it spit it out some day
what the sea remembers
it buries in the blue
what the sea remembers could have been me and you.
Track Name: Smokestacks and Steeples
Smokestacks, not steeples, towered over the people
no bells, now whistles kept the time
and men sought nothing higher than sated desire
while neon, not fire, lit the signs

it was a time very like our own
when gods and princes were overthrown
it was a time very like our own
when gods and and princes were overthrown
it was an age when things were rearranged
put the devils out of sight and the heaven's within range
for some it was wonder, for others passing strange

smokestacks, not steeples, towered over the people
no bells, now whistles kept the time
and men no longer wanted a world that was haunted
still haunted by the divine

it was a time very like our own
when long held customs were outgrown
young men in boots marched to new absolutes
trying to pull the tree up by the roots
they sought relief in the arms of unbelief
but the emptiness that followed send them rushing after dreams
which paraded down their promenades, went dancing across their screens

and prophets of doom said the end would come soon
we'd fade into the night just like the waning of the moon
and sour statisticians said we were running out of room
there was no light to pierce the gloom.
Track Name: Karachi Burning
last night I awoke to the sound
the town of Karachi burning down
people was adding wrong to wrong
the town of Karachi burning down
they were burning buses and looting stalls
the town of Karachi burning down
man, they beating the rickshawallah and all

i never seen in all of my days
how grief could set a city ablaze
i never seen in all of my days
how grief could set a city ablaze

some people beating their chest in shame
the town of Karachi burning down
some people chanting miss Bhutto's name
the town of Karachi burning down
and to underscore what they mean
the town of Karachi burning down
they dousing the whole place in kerosene
the town of Karachi burning down

as if the sticks and stones and strife
could restore a leader to life
as if the sticks and stones and strife
could restore a leader to life

some people said it was taliban
the town of Karachi burning down
some was out batting for imran khan
the town of Karachi burning down
some even said it was she own husband
the town of Karachi burning down
rumours was flying through the land
the town of Karachi burning down

as if all the malicious talk
could make the dead to get up and walk
as if all the malicious talk
could make the dead to get up and walk
Track Name: Before the Day Star
before the day star you were formed in the womb
by the light of the Spirit warmed
before flesh and blood were stitched to bone
before the day star you were known

before the day star you were willed
then by breath and being filled
in that unseen place where you would grow
before the day star you were known

before the day star you were made
no accident, no mistake
you say your mama barely knew your dad
before the day star you were planned

before the day star you were conceived
in the mind of God, to be received
into the waiting arms of all that is
before the day star you were his

you are the meeting place between dust and grace
the infinity of heaven, the lines of time and space
the apple of all-seeing eyes
before the day star you were prized

before the waters split into sky and sea
before the day star you were called to be
a ray reaching back to that ageless light
which before the day star was burning bright….
Track Name: World Is Turning
in the shrine on the mountain
no bells ring to call
no candles burn late and low
to greet the nightfall
and wooden saint keep watching
from their shelves on the wall
over the changing world....

the world is turning
time marching on
the field is burning
it ent waiting for none
the sea is churning
the world we know
is just a passing shadow

in the fort on the coastline
two guns rust away
on guard against the galleons
of a long vanished day
while they gaze from their outpost
on the still quiet bay
over the changing world....

in the field on the flatlands
no spades break the soil
no calloused hands now catch the fruit
before it falls and it spoils
and the great house stares blankly
across the years of blood and toil
over the changing world....
Track Name: As They Sleep
you should watch your children as they sleep
eyes plunged down into the higher deep
there will be vows to make and vows to keep
in the still air of the room

when the evening’s protesting cries
have fallen all to lullabies
oh, I advise you stay awhile
before you tiptoe away

when the flash of anger has left those cheeks
and you trace the lines where the tears left streaks
and kiss the lids over eyes that seek
all their answers from you

memories are for them like they are for us
some loom like mountains, others blow away like dust
some lodge like splinters and others, like rust,
must be scraped off before you can shine

so sitting here by this bedside
fumbling for words to entreat the Divine
and render thanks for this blessed life
that has become the reason for mine…