KES THE BAND will launch their “IzWe” event series with five nights of live, socially-distanced concerts celebrating soca music and Trinidadian culture during the traditional run up to Trinidad Carnival. The series, which will feature surprise special guests nightly, takes place from Feb. 9-13 at The Sound Forge in Port-of-Spain, with each night’s performance open to 300 patrons.
The culminating performance on Feb. 13 will air live on CNC3 in Trinidad & Tobago and on affiliates across the Caribbean. Fans outside the region can livestream the concert at KES’ website, www.kestheband.com, by purchasing tickets for $10. The live stream is available at no cost within the Caribbean.
This year, with Trinidad Carnival festivities on pause, the band decided to re-brand and extend their annual soca showcase to multiple nights in order to accommodate more fans while keeping within the maximum gathering size prescribed by the government of Trinidad & Tobago.
“This is a presentation of culture in all its different aspects,” says Kees Dieffenthaller aka KES, frontman for KES THE BAND. “We’ll be celebrating the essence of who we are. It all began with drums and fire and, out of the revolution of our ancestors, Carnival came to be the sweetest revolution. We are celebrating our light in these dark times.”
The cancellation of Trinidad Carnival — along with Carnival celebrations across the region — due to the Covid-19 pandemic has left a massive void for soca music and Caribbean culture this past year. KES have sought to fill this void as best they can with a series of live specials, aired on TV locally in Trinidad & Tobago and across the Caribbean and live streamed worldwide, under the banner We Home.
The inaugural We Home livestream event was held on Trinidad Independence Day in August, with We Home: Under One Roof following on Boxing Day, December 26th. Collectively the performances raised $15,000 USD in charitable funds, which were donated to Trinidad & Tobago-based charities Touching Hands Project and The Shelter.
“We are rallying together with the best of the best in the artform currently and celebrating the works of past greats, and bringing it into one place, one event, one moment where we all celebrate ourselves,” KES says of the live IzWe concerts, the first of many events the band plans to hold under that banner. “We will celebrate the why – why we do this, the joy of it, in hope of a brighter future, in hope of a different time. We want to hold the torch, we want to light the flambeau and keep it lit.”
Despite the pandemic, 2020 proved to be a landmark year for KES THE BAND as it celebrated the release of the live album We Home, its first new full-length project in eight years. In February, just weeks before the world came to a halt, KES wrapped a massively successful campaign at Trinidad Carnival 2020, where it won the annual International Soca Monarch competition with “Stage Gone Bad” (a collaboration with Iwer George) and also captured the Road March title, given to the song played the most during the Carnival parade.
On Jan. 26th, KES released their first single of the 2021 soca season, “Keep Jammin’ On,” a collaboration with world-renowned Trinidadian soca DJ/Producer, DJ Private Ryan.
ABOUT KES THE BAND
Of the many musical acts which call Trinidad & Tobago home, perhaps none embody its polyglot culture more than KES THE BAND, the eclectic soca outfit behind some of modern Caribbean music’s most indelible anthems. Celebrated for Carnival hits (“Wotless,” “Savannah Grass”) and island pop jams like “Tuesday on the Rocks” and “Hello” — one of the most streamed soca songs of all time — the band has brought Trinidad to the world, sharing stages with the likes of Will Smith, Major Lazer and John Legend. For the group — charismatic singer Kees Dieffenthaler (aka KES) and his brothers Jon (guitar) and Hans (drums), along with childhood friend, Riad Boochoon (bass) — blending soca, pop, rock, reggae, calypso, dancehall and afrobeats together is one part of their greater calling: To spread good vibes.