Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hometown Blues: Kobo Town and "Diego Martin"

My hometown is always within me, and I can't escape it even if I wanted to. My hometown is the beacon that pulls me back to my beginnings, and my dark place where many of my life's difficulties and tragedies were first conceived and realized. My hometown is the quiet place where I find beauty and joy. My hometown is where I still hear the sounds of my childhood - the endless roar of the ocean, the low moaning of buoys, the wind whipping through the cypress trees. My hometown is where rain, sun and fog combine to create a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors in sunlight sparkling through dew on a blade of grass, and in an instant wash everything out in hues of gray as the mist settles in. My hometown is where my family lives, and where all our shared histories come together and part ways. My hometown is where I came of age. My hometown is where I achieved some of my greatest early achievements, and made some of my greatest early mistakes. My hometown is a part of me, and I will always have it with me.

An homage to a hometown is our random tune today. Diego Martin is the hometown of Toronto-based musician Drew Gonsalves, who formed the Caribbean group Kobo Town in 2004. The band's name refers to the neighborhood in Port Au Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where calypso was conceived and first performed. Kobo Town blends calypso music with other Caribbean music, as well as genres such as ska, reggae, dub, rapso, zouk and hip hop. Gonsalves moved to Canada from Diego Martin, Trinidad & Tobago with his mother when he was thirteen. She was a Canadian citizen who was escaping her abusive marriage. He turned to music and poetry to deal with his situation and feelings of exile. He studied history and political science at Carleton University before taking up music as a career. Diego Martin can be found on Kobo Town's 2013 album Jumbie in the Jukebox.