St Bernard: “Transformative, uplifting, enjoyable”—why Kees is my King of Soca

You don’t have to put anyone down, to elevate another. Kees Dieffenthaller, is my current ‘King of Soca’.

I came to that conclusion after watching Kes The Band perform the full spectrum of soca music for one hour. Nothing but soca!

Photo: Kees Dieffenthaller from Kes The Band performs at a soca fete.
(Copyright Sean Morrison/ Wired868)

Kes had the largest turnout, about 22,000, at the recent three day Caribbean music event on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Not once did Kees say: “raise yuh hand”, or “take a jump”. It was just music.

Individual solo bridges by the band members. No old talk between songs. No questions for the crowd to respond to. Just musical soca hits with nice transitions between songs. 

Unlike the majority of current soca bands, who only do their own songs—regardless of how unpopular some of their own songs are—Kes was repping the best of soca and winning the hearts of the massive crowd of second and third generation Caribbean people, most of them born in the United States.

Photo: Kees Dieffenthaller in full flight with Kes The Band.
(via Kes The Band)

Kees dropped the musical tempo and did Magic, a song he has with Jimmy October, telling his audience this is calypso and calypso music. The audience of predominantly 19-35 year olds, raised their hands in appreciation. 

He followed up with a taste of Lord Nelson and Kitchener’s music. People lapped it up.

Kees demonstrated he can get the audience to jump, prance and wave without asking them to do so. Voice’s Out and Bad and his road march Stage Gone Bad sent the same crowd that was just grooving, into something a Trinidad Carnival Tuesday frenzy.

I saw Kes perform to a similar size audience in Brooklyn for Labor Day 2021. It was transformative, uplifting, enjoyable and the talk of Brooklyn for the summer of 2021—but that was Kes The Band and all the top soca acts.

Photo: Trinidad-born US hip hop star Nicki Minaj (centre) poses with soca stars Machel Montano (left) and Kees Dieffenthaller.
(via Nicki’s Instagram)

I was specifically interested in seeing if Kes the Band could have the same effect with an audience that was not mostly Trinidadians in the diaspora. I wanted to see if Kes the Band could hold an audience without the other soca stars making appearances.

In this event, Kes the Band was the headliner. No other act was advertised. A one song cameo by Nailah Blackman, did not take away from what was a Kes solo performance in front of the diaspora of mostly Jamaicans, Guyanese, Haitians, and mixed Caribbean heritage. The Trinis there were proud to see our soca and calypso music totally embraced.

The audience enjoyed every minute. Not a person left until Kes was done. 

I’m handing the crown to Kees!

Photo: Giddem Kes!
More from Wired868
The Good, The Bad, the Destra and the “Double G” of Fete With the Saints

“[…] Patrice gave an excellent and emotional performance. From her outfit to her energy to her typically impeccable vocals, Patrice Read more

Dear Editor: Bottom in the web—AI composes soca song in three seconds

“[…] Bottoms up, they shake and sway; hips are moving, in a playful way; “Gyrating to the rhythm, so divine; Read more

Orin: White vest, sneakers and Wallabees: Bunji was the boss—but I won’t forget Nailah either

“[…] Bunji’s clever ragga-style rapid-fire toasting managed to include a range of references, from isosceles to Wallabees… Their joint ownership Read more

Bunji: “When you have a family, there’s no longer a thing as MY win!” Road March champ fires back

“[…] Our family will have our names on everything together just like cooperate institutes, groceries, shops, stores and other businesses. Read more

Hard Fete rules the road! TUCO tallies for Bunji and Fay-Ann

Soca power couple Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez and Fay-Ann Lyons are the first Road March champions of the post-Covid-19 pandemic Read more

Orin: ISM’s vital to Trini-Caribbean soca partnership—just ask Mr Killa!

“[…] Another response I took issue with was ‘let the market decide’ whether ISM survived or not. Some of those Read more

Check Also

The Good, The Bad, the Destra and the “Double G” of Fete With the Saints

“[…] Patrice gave an excellent and emotional performance. From her outfit to her energy to …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.