Mon | May 29, 2023

Kes The Band launches ‘homecoming’ concert for T&T carnival season

Aims to connect the diaspora and world through music

Published:Friday | January 20, 2023 | 12:53 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Kees Dieffenthaller described IzWE as a ‘reunion’.
Kees Dieffenthaller described IzWE as a ‘reunion’.

Award-winning soca collective Kes The Band, led by vocalist Kees Dieffenthaller, is celebrating the return of Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival following its absence for the past two years.

Kes The Band, which was formed in 2005, is comprised of Kees, or Kes as he is known widely, and his brothers, Hans (on drums) and Jon (on guitar) and long-time friend Riad Boochoon on bass guitar. All were raised in South Trinidad.

For the carnival season, the group is headed home, “back to where our dreams first manifested”, said Kes in a press conference for the launch of the IzWE 2023 concert, which saw media from across the Caribbean, and other specially invited guests in attendance.

The IzWE 2023 concert will happen on February 14 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, a multipurpose stadium in Tarouba, San Fernando. Kes, who was the 2011 winner of the International Groovy Soca Monarch competition with the single Wotless, and has been featured in the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, previously held an event on the Tuesday before carnival for many years called ‘Tuesday on the Rocks’. It has since been associated with a big show from the artiste. This year, the Tuesday happens to fall on Valentine’s Day which he hopes will spark “more love amongst the people”.

“What this really means is, it is a homecoming back to our roots and it is about reminding not just Trinidad and Tobago, but the whole human race that we are connected together through love, through the music we love and the energy we share together through the things we celebrate,” Kes said.

He added that throughout the pandemic, though persons were separated, music, and in particular the soca genre, “played a pivotal role to bring persons together and seeing the world divided but yet in a soca party persons are social, happy – quite the opposite – we realised we needed to be home and sort of remind ourselves why were are doing this and what we are doing it for.” He said that the mission of Kes The Band has been to break barriers, cross borders, connect the world through music as well as to bridge the gap between generations, and in accomplishing this in small steps, it was time to regroup.

“Trinbagonians in Jamaica and from places around the world all come to Carnival every year. They as well connect with us online and when we do shows at their locations, [so] they are aware of what we’re up to as some have experienced our shows over the years,” he told The Gleaner.

“My time at home is something I cherish; it is spent with family and I enjoy the natural aspects of my country the most, the rivers, beaches and forests but while exploring all that I can, I experience the soul of the people and it reminds me of the essence of our spirit. The Brian Lara Stadium is in the place where my brothers and I grew up … doing our concert there is bringing everyone back to the place where we started. That is our roots.”

The concert line-up includes artistes and performers from Trinidad and Tobago and across the region, from the classics to the rising stars. Some of the names Kes revealed are Iwer George, Coutain, Lord Nelson, Haitian singer J Perry and Jamaican diamond-selling artiste Shaggy, with whom he collaborated recently on a track titled Mood.

“A reunion is certainly going to happen. From years of touring I’ve grown to love and cherish the fact that I am Caribbean. I feel connected to every island because we share similar stories and origins. I want the music and experience to represent the essence of who we all are as Caribbean people – IzWE,” Kes shared.