Kes the Band: Soca for all Seasons
Updated: Feb 14
Based on data from the Copyright Music Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT), Kees Dieffenthaller (lead vocalist for Kes the Band) has been dominating radio play at the height of the 2020 carnival season in the twin island republic with his offerings Dear Promoter (a collaboration with Aaron “Voice” St. Louis) and Boss Lady.
Soca is best described as being many things at the same time. And as a hybrid genre, it matches not only what is popular at the moment, but the essence of carnival. For over 18 years, Kees has successfully navigated the hybrid nature of soca proving to be diverse in his offerings, which can be partly attributed to him having a start in pop rock and then moving to soca. His collaborations with international acts such as Tessanne Chin, Shenseea, Lira, Snoop Dogg, and Chris Herrero prove his ability to take on various sounds while maintaining a distinct carnival vibe.
His concert- Tuesday on the Rocks, which is held on the Tuesday of the carnival week, has steadily grown over the years and is now one of the biggest events during the festival. The show also highlights his large fan base that come out in droves to see him perform alongside other big soca acts. Without doubt, Kees has steadily worked on becoming one of Trinidad and Tobago’s top soca acts.
In 2019, Kees showed that he was interested in aggressively pushing his song Savannah Grass (written with Jelani Shaw) for Road March- the most coveted music competition title in Trinidad’s carnival. Unfortunately, he placed second unable to match the power of Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous, and Bunji Garlin’s Famalay. His taste of Road March victory made sure his 2020 songs were aggressively on point as the soca star strategically positioned himself for greater success.
The partnership with three time Soca Monarch winner, Voice, an exceptional groovy soca vocalist, is not just one of the most played songs on radio but also at fetes and is expected to get traction beyond the season in Trinidad. In Dear Promoter, the two Soca Monarch winners penned a message to fete promoters that a “fancy stage” is not needed for a fantastic party experience. They further lament that promoters and patrons have been caught up far too long with the economics of fetes and profiling that they have forgotten that a fete is to be enjoyed, and it is a moment that embodies the spirt of carnival. This moment is one of release and enjoyment- to remove the masks that are worn in everyday lives and to simply appreciate that niceness the fete brings.
Dear Promoter resonates not only with Trinis but with Caribbean citizens who bring that energy of togetherness, love, and good vibes wherever they go. |Dr Soca|