November 16, 2019 – We didn’t plan it this way, but this fall has been a lot to do about Trinidad. We created two week long school projects for our elementary aged students with Jean Raabe of Pan Odyssey as well as a Teen Open Mic experience with her steel pans, too. These steel pans (we call them drums here) are from Trinidad and Tobago (two islands, one nation) in the Caribbean. Jean talked about living in Trinidad (she teaches music therapy there 6 months of the year), the food, the culture and her experience playing in a professional steel band for 20 some years. You can read more about the projects on our Creating Community Works page.
As the FH volunteer who helped with these projects, I got to play, too, and see and hear all of these kids exploring these foreign instruments and ask really great questions. Jean is a great person, so giving and patient and intent on doing this good work. She reached out to me a year or so ago about the programs she has been doing in Bloomingdale and Pullman and she just wants to spread the experience to as many students as she can.
A week from tomorrow Kobo Town will be here. This will be a Trinidad experience by way of Toronto. I saw this band at Blissfest a couple of years ago and fell in love. The music is very fun, danceable, reggae, ska beats and very much the protest music that all of that is, too. I heard the name Calypso and learned that it isn’t just a rhythm or particular instruments, but a the folk tradition of Trinidad. One of these days I will write up all me thoughts about folk music as protest and punk (and how it is the most inclusive, community building genre.) Here’s some context for some of their songs (from the Kobo Town website): “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 .
Randomly another Kobo Town fan is Ben Holt, FH volunteer, board members and awesome guy “living the dream”. He reached out to them to just see if ever they would be able to come this way and some time later they replied. Not only did Ben want to bring them here, but he wanted to make sure that the younger people in our area really got a chance to see them, so we created a school project out of it with Baseline Middle School. This is all coming up and preparations are in the works and mostly include sweating if people will come. For a few reasons Listiak Auditorium at the high school was the best place for a performance, but the concert had to be scheduled for the night before the school project, so we are doing what we can to promote it. To find out more about Kobo Town, the concert, etc. here is the event. Help us spread the word! Offer rides for all your kids friends! Tell your co-workers!