Soca music stars and Caribbean culture ambassadors Kes (aka Kes The Band) will ring in the return of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival after three long years with their IZWE Festival, set for Tuesday, February 14th at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in San Fernando, Trinidad. Tickets are now on sale HERE.
Kes launched IZWE (pronounced “Is We”) in 2021 as a series of five, socially-distanced concerts during what would have been that year’s Carnival season. The limited-capacity shows were the first sanctioned live music events held in Trinidad & Tobago after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which began one year earlier, and just days after the close of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival 2020.
As the world has opened up, Kes has exported IZWE in an expanded, festival form to New York City and Toronto, in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Some 8,000 fans attended each event, with July’s IzWe Toronto concert receiving national media coverage in Canada from outlets including CBC and Breakfast Television.
With IZWE 2023, the band is set to bring the show back home to Trinidad on the Tuesday before Trinidad & Tobago Carnival — the same calendar spot where Kes held its Tuesday on the Rocks concert series from 2014 to 2020. Fans can stay tuned for guest artist announcements and more details at www.kestheband.com.
Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, or Trinidad Carnival for short, is widely known as the Caribbean’s biggest and best carnival celebration, and the inspiration for cultural festivals like Notting Hill Carnival in London and Toronto’s Caribana. Held annually on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the event is known for participants’ colorful costumes and exuberant street celebrations, as well as the soca music that provides its soundtrack. With Carnival returning after three years — 2021 marked its first cancellation since WWII — anticipation is sky high and record attendance is expected, not only for the carnival itself but for the season of special events that precedes it.
|The homecoming follows a banner 2022 for Kes, which included a mainstage performance at ESSENCE Fest in July, where the band played for one of its largest audiences to date. Summer saw Kes usher in the return of carnival celebrations across the Caribbean and its Diaspora, with performances in Guyana, Barbados, Anguilla, Grenada, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Toronto, London, and New York City. Their Liki Tiki U.S. Tour followed in September and October, with sold out dates up and down the East and West Coast.|
This week, the band returns to the Caribbean for the Tomac Festival in Plymouth, Tobago, on Oct. 24, followed by the World Creole Music Festival in Roseau, Dominica, on Oct. 28. Kes’ next and last U.S. date of 2022 is at Houston’s Tribeville fest on Nov. 26.
Kes is currently wrapping work on their forthcoming full-length album, Man With No Door. The rollout began in January with island-pop smash “Jolene,” followed by “Liki Tiki,” their region-spanning, multilingual collaboration with Haiti’s Michael Brun and JPerry.
“Liki Tiki” is currently up for GRAMMY® consideration in the Best Global Music Performance category.
One of Trinidad & Tobago’s most popular and celebrated acts, Kes has consistently blazed new trails for soca, the genre created in the 1970s by the late Trinidadian music legend Lord Shorty (aka Ras Shorty I). The band, which along with frontman Kees Dieffenthaller, consists of his brothers Jon (guitar) and Hans (drums) Dieffenthaller, and bassist Riad Boochoon (bass) — has brought soca to stages around the world, while collaborating with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Wizkid and Major Lazer. 2021 saw the group make its U.S.television debut, performing virtually from Trinidad on Late Night with Steven Colbert, and its return to the States for their first tour in over two years.