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Kes The Band Shows Off Jolene as They Prep for Summer Album Release.

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Trinidad & Tobago soca stars KES (aka KES THE BAND) invite viewers to experience a vintage slice of island life in the video for their latest single, “Jolene.” Trinidadian filmmaker Maya Cozier (She Paradise) directed the nostalgic visuals, which center the song in a small Caribbean fishing village, circa mid-20th century. 

There we find KES frontman Kees Diefenthaller — also known as KES — competing with other villagers to win the affection of the track’s namesake character. The clip captures the rich, lulling rhythm of island life, with images of fishing, coconuts, dancing and rum, while taking inspiration from Brazil’s ‘60s-era cinema novo movement with its vibrant saturated colors and period attire.

A blend of soca, afrobeats, calypso and island pop flavors produced by British-Trinidadian producer Dwala, “Jolene” is the first taste of KES’ next full-length album, coming this Summer through California-based Ineffable Records.

The buoyant celebration of good vibes and rolling waistlines arrives amidst Trinidad & Tobago’s traditional Carnival season — a time of year when soca artists typically roll out new music to soundtrack the season’s coming festivities. With Carnival celebrations on pause for a second year, KES reached outside the box to create a record that could pull listeners from around the world into the Caribbean, no matter where they find themselves in the world.

“I wanted to transport you to a place where, even if you’ve never been to the islands before, you would feel like you are there,” KES says. “The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures and people together in this beautiful place, and this song captures all of these vibes.” 

Cozier, whose music video credits include Kranium’s “In Charge” and Freetown Collective’s “Human Form,” earned widespread acclaim in 2021 with her debut feature film, She Paradise. The soca-fueled, coming-of-age story, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was distributed theatrically this past fall by Samuel Goldwyn Films. 

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Kes, and when I heard the song I got excited,” Cozier says of “Jolene.” “I immediately thought of calypso, and wanted to capture that time period.” Shot in Las Cuevas, a fishing village on Trinidad’s secluded North Coast, the video’s imagery takes cues from documentary footage of Trinidad & Tobago in calypso’s 1950s heyday; Brazilian director Glauber Rocha’s 1962 film Barrevento; and Trinidad & Tobago’s folkloric theater tradition. 

In spite of the pandemic, recent times have brought a string of highlights for KES. 2021 saw the band make its U.S. TV debut on Late Night with Steven Colbert, and return to the States for their first tour dates in over two years, including their climactic IzWe concert in New York City, which brought nearly 10,000 fans to Brooklyn’s Boardwalk Lot on Labor Day. In August 2020, they released the live album We Home (Ineffable Records), a project which earned them plaudits in outlets ranging from Essence to The FADER.

Over the last two years, the band has organized a run of virtual concerts that have aired live on TV across the Caribbean and streamed worldwide on their YouTube channel, timed to key dates on Trinidad & Tobago’s cultural calendar. 

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