When I think about how soca music makes me feel, I beam from the inside. Charge it to my Trinidadian roots, but whenever a big “chune” plays (old or new) my eyes close, hands go up, head tilts back and my waistline sways to the rhythm.
For me and millions of other soca fans worldwide, no other genre of music exudes the euphoria that soca does. The up-tempo groovy beats—a modern twist to its forefather calypso—instantly elevate any mood. (Press play on these classics for an instant mood booster: “Dollar Wine” by Collin Lucas; “Nani Wine” by Byron Lee & The Dragonaires or “Turn It Around” by Andy Armstrong & Square One). In many ways, soca fuels the Caribbean diaspora providing the vibes that anyone can levitate to. So the timing couldn’t be more perfect for a fresh new live album from the icons of the genre, Kes.
Hailing from the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the hub of carnival in the Caribbean, the band breathes new life into a culture that has been largely sidelined due to the pandemic. We Home, the first major soca release since the COVID-19 outbreak hit T&T, is pure vibes from the moment the album begins. Never ones to be boxed in, Kes has always delivered a sound that is was indistinguishably all their own—a true eclectic fusion of island music including soca, reggae, dancehall and pop.
Having previously shared the stage with music legends John Legend, Will Smith and Major Lazor, this new Kes collaboration features rising T&T calypso star Jimmy October and Tobagonian jazz performer Etienne Charles.
We Home gives fans a direct connection to the the band, comprised of brothers Kees Dieffenthaller (lead vocals), Hans Dieffenthaller (drums), and Jon Dieffenthaller (guitar), along with long-time friend Riad Boochoon (bass guitar). “It is good vibes in a bottle,” Kees told ESSENCE, who shared that the live version was purposeful and a way to give fans a front-row seat to the culture, even though currently, we’re all socially distant.
“The color of paint that soca has become is happiness, so we really wanted this album to remind people what it is to feel happy again. This is really our personal concert for you,” said Kees. Celebrations have also already begun for the album as “Hello,” the lead single on the live album, now holds the title for most YouTube plays of any soca song in the last decade.
Although most international travel may be interrupted indefinitely, enjoy a true taste of Caribbean culture with this eclectic live album until you can experience the islands in-person again. The chunes on Kes’ We Home provide the perfect playlist to kick back, pour a drink and, as the locals say, “free up yourself.”