FAR AWAY: Robbie Styles, Simon Baptiste and Kees Dieffenthaller having some fun in Dubai. —Photo courtesy Kes the Band Management

Tools

Kes to the world

By Nigel Telesford

Come 2013, fans of Kes The Band will witness yet another evolutionary leap by the group as the Dieffenthaller brothers and crew embrace the soul of the island in yet another manner. Determined to showcase the virtues of Trinidad and Tobago to the world, the band will embark on a global tour, which is scheduled to commence right here in the midst of Trinidad Carnival.

"We are a vacation to the rest of the world, literally – that's how they view us. Aside from the typical Carnival circuit, we always strive to make in-roads and to touch new markets and take our music and our vibes to different places. This year, we visited some amazing places and spent a lot more time outside of Trinidad, which allowed us to not only expose our music to more people in more places, but also enabled us to learn from these people and gain some valuable experiences and insight in these places."

"What we found is that people are talking about and recognising and interested in finding out about and visiting Trinidad more and more, but what's interesting also is the way that they view us – the impression or should I say, the image that they have of us is literally everything that we are as a band: fun, cool, musical, friendly, open people… So, what we're gonna do in 2013 is embrace that and package it," Kees Dieffenthaller said.

People may have noticed that Kes The Band no longer subscribes to the seasonal boundaries of Trinidad Carnival. In 2012, the band unleashed a string of hit singles throughout the year, which not only kept its fans engaged, but also served to introduce the band to new markets and open doors to new opportunities.

"I feel proud and happy to say that we no longer have a season. We go right through the year and make music and videos and keep the pot bubbling. After Jamaica Carnival this year, I stayed on and made some links and rode a couple riddims, which resulted in songs like "My Love" on the Summer Wave Riddim and "Tuesday on the Rocks" on the Gyal Season Riddim. Of course, we did the video and released "Take Me Away" just after Carnival as well to bridge the gap and this is the momentum we wanna keep building in 2013," Dieffenthaller said.

Promotional trips to Los Angeles and surrounding areas on the West Coast of the USA, as well as Greece and even Dubai provided additional inspiration for the innovative ensemble.

"In LA, we did a showcase at the Sayer's Club which really opened a lot of doors and allowed us the opportunity to introduce Soca and Island Pop and everything that we do to new audience. While in LA two really interesting things happened, aside from all the meetings and shows and all the action. One night, we had some free time and ended up having a lime at the house we were staying at in Bel Air."

"We just decided to try and cook a pelau and of course, Robbie and Mario are DJs aside from being musicians in the band, so we had Trini food bubbling, soca music playing and a lime going steady at a house with a pool in Bel Air. You know what happened next, right? People just started showing up! And I'm not just talking about the Trinis in the area… I'm talking about Americans. So it turned into a huge Soca House Party with people wining and eating pelau and they were loving the music and the energy and that's when it dawned on me that this is the lifestyle we need to package and sell."

"The second thing that happened was that while there I allowed one of the ladies who were taking care of us, who is also an actress/stylist etc to shop for me and based on what she bought, I was able to see how she saw me – and by extension, how she saw us. So you're gonna see me with the island man hat all the time now and it's a real symbol of the image we're gonna create and package and sell to the world."

" I feel like we're right on the cusp of something great because when I look back, I can see what Harry Belafonte saw and felt and what Bob Marley had to go through and how David Rudder was looked upon when he started infusing jazz into his music. So, we're gonna embrace the roots of Calypso a lot more next year – because that's the music that changed the world and sold a million records for the first time and is infinitely more recognised than Soca."

"So, while on the World Tour we're gonna treat every single gig as a showcase because you never know who's in the crowd and we want all our audiences to hear and feel and experience this island vibe we believe that this is what the world needs right now – a happy kind of music that just makes people feel good and gives them energy and freedom to move and laugh and wine and express themselves," Dieffenthaller said.

Making their way to the World Music Expo (WOMEX) in Greece this year opened more doors for the band and a slot in a Caribbean Carnival event in Dubai took Kes the Band manager, Simon Baptiste and Robbie (Robert Persaud) into the desert land where wining was taboo and Carib beer was a big hit.

Now, as the Carnival season looms nearer, Kes The Band will be busy rocking those corporate Christmas functions, while putting the finishing touches on its 2013 songs and plans for the World Tour.

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