Icons of soca music and ambassadors of Caribbean culture, Trinidad’s KES today share their first new full-length album in over five years, the live project We Home (Ineffable Records). The group, also known as KES THE BAND, breathes new life into its catalog of Carnival hits (“Hello,” “Savannah Grass,”) and island pop jams (“Endless Summer,”“Magic”), with fresh renditions showcasing their prowess as a live band par excellence.
We Home arrives with an unprecedented level of digital support for a soca project. Spotify has made KES the face of its new Soca Classics playlist, launched this week as part of its Carnival Sounds microsite. YouTube Music recently selected KES to cover and lead off its freshly-minted Caribbean Pulse playlist. On Apple Music, The Ebro Show premiered the fourth and final We Home single, a new version of 2019 Trinidad Carnival anthem “Savannah Grass,” on the newly-rebranded Apple Music 1 station.
Today, Today, KES takes over SiriusXM’s The Joint at 8AM and again at 2PM EST, for a walkthrough of the album with exclusive commentary. Beginning Tuesday, for the entire month of September, Pandora will add an exclusive “Mode” on its Soca station featuring and hosted by KES. The Road to Carnival mode will feature KES’ commentary on We Home, and their reflections on the vibrance of soca music and culture.
KES will also participate today in Angela Yee Day, a virtual music showcase streaming on The Breakfast Club YouTube channel beginning at 12pm EST, and on mobile truck screens riding through New York City from noon-8pm.
On Aug. 31 — Trinidad’s Independence Day — KES will present a 1-hour TV special, KES LIVE, airing across ten Caribbean countries in partnership with Trindad’s TV6. The broadcast will also be simulcast in Africa on Trace TV; and on Kes’ YouTube channel at youtube.com/keslive.
We Home was created to fill a void for soca music at a time when Covid-19 has put the communal Carnival celebrations and fetes that are the genre’s raison d’etre on pause. Mixed by renowned engineer Dexter Simmons (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston), it is the first major soca release since the outbreak began, and an effort by KES to create a time capsule of their sound and genre in 2020, and reconnect with their roots as eclectic and musically unpredictable performers.
“The live show is key to our entire brand,” vocalist Kees Dieffenthaller (who also goes by KES) says of the group, which has shared stages with acts ranging from John Legend and Major Lazer to Will Smith and Maroon 5. “But the live experience is something we never truly captured before [on record].”
As soca has become largely producer-driven, KES have carried the torch for live music, touring year round and bringing eclectic influences to the genre. Their annual Tuesday on the Rocks concert, held during Trinidad Carnival season, is widely celebrated, having expanded to New York, Toronto and Guyana. “When we play live, the music translates in such a boundless way — you don’t have to know what soca is, or where we’re from,” Kees says.
We Home is the first soca release from Ineffable Music, the multi-faceted Oakland-based music company that owns and operates venues and festivals, including North America’s biggest reggae concert, Cali Roots Fest; and manages and releases music from artists like Stick Figure and Collie Buddz. It is also the first album by a major soca act on a U.S. record label in over three years.