June 2007

Kobo Town
part of the Luminato festival
June 9, 2007Lula Libre StageDistillery DistrictToronto
Rock On, Kobo Town
by Tony Shivpershad
On a beautiful warm spring night on an open-air sound stage in the heart of Toronto’s beautiful Distillery District — this is the way to see Kobo Town. The occasion was Luminato, the Toronto festival of arts and creativity. It was there, between the historic buildings, at the end of the big cobblestone road, that Kobo Town seemed larger than life.

The band executed their unique blend of Calypso, roots reggae and a splash of jazz with effortless precision. The crowd was receptive and appreciative. During their first song a two-year-old baby danced a solo game of Ring around the rosie on the riser in front of the stage, entertaining the audience and causing guitarist Cesco Emmanuel to crack a smile. Soon that solo baby would turn into a mob of dancers.

A quartet of young teenage female hip-hop dancers popped and locked amongst the other Kobo Town revellers as the band delivered crowd pleasers from their Independence album, which was released late in 2006, as well as many bonus songs. The violin solo from “Abatina”, which had turned into a Linsey Wellman flute solo at the Independence album release party, this time became a dramatic guitar solo by virtuoso Cesco Emmanuel.

A couple of pulsing conga solos by Derek Thorne had the crowd cheering. Bassist Roger Williams laid down thick bottoms as drummer Robert Millicevic kept precision time. In between gifting us with his melodic poetry, bandleader Drew Gonsalves volleyed festive rhythm riffs on his acoustic guitar.

The sounds all came together beautifully, the five men on stage each bringing a unique style that came together to create lush, exotic kaiso music. The large crowd that came out to enjoy the band received a real gift this night. The dancers got a glorious workout. One fan in the audience held up a large homemade Bristol board sign that summed it all up nicely: Kobo Town Rocks!

Derek Thorne & Drew Gonsalves
Kobo Town
Drew Gonsalves – lead vocals & guitar
Cesco Emmanuel – guitar
Roger Williams – bass
Derek Thorne – percussion
Robert Millicevic – drums

> www.kobotown.com <

We welcome your comments and feedback
Tony Shivpershad
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