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Artistes taking soca to the world

By Nigel Telesford

Now that the 2013 Carnival season has ended here in Trinidad and Tobago, life may be returning to normal for most citizens, but for many artistes and their entourages, the Carnival has only just begun.

"Trinidad Carnival is the Mecca and the blueprint for all others," said Kees Dieffenthaller of Kes The Band. "So once our season ends, all of us artistes and cultural practitioners are charged with the task of taking the energy, colour, excitement and, or course, the music of T&T Carnival to the rest of the world."

With that agenda in mind, Kes The Band officially began their 2013 "Isle of Kes (IOK) Tour" here in Trinidad for the months of January and February and will journey to Jamaica in March, Guyana in April, Berlin, Germany in May, Los Angeles, USA in June and Belgium in August.

"During our stay in LA last year," said Question Mark Entertainment director Carolyn Pasea, "Kees and the guys recognised the need for a viable and entertaining Caribbean product in the market. We wanted to create an image to go with the sound we've crafted over the last five years and put a show together that would encompass the best of T&T and the region. We chose to begin the Isle of Kes Tour in Trinidad Carnival, so we could perfect the routines and test them out on one of the toughest audiences in the world—our own. Now, we believe we're ready to take this show on the road."

For Shurwayne Winchester, the next few months will be spent taking soca music up the islands and working with new producers.

"Right now, Shurwayne Winchester and YOU are currently preparing for our big children's show on the sister isle of Tobago on February 23," said Winchester. "After which, we head to Jamaica, then St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and many of the smaller islands in between—and we're working on Atlanta's carnival as well. We're also trying to link up with new producers and start preparing for mid-year releases and music for 2K14."

Winchester admitted that 2013 was not his best season, but took pride in the success of his concert and other promotions hosted by his company SW Limited.

"The season was bittersweet," he revealed, "as it wasn't one of my better years, but thankfully my band and I were able to touch areas of the country that we would not have normally performed at. It was great on another level, as we saw our two promotional endeavours—The Shurwayne Winchester concert and Addiction—The Breakfast Party—build into Carnival staples and I can only see bigger and better for next year."

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