Kes brings Soca to CaliRoots Music Festival

Kees Dieffenthaller and Robbie Persaud bring the Trinidad Carnival energy live onstage @calirootsfest2

Kees performing onstage at the California Roots Music Festival

Kees Dieffenthaller, lead singer of Kes The Band, sings Soca music @calirootsfest

The #1 Trending Soca band, @kesthebandofficial live onstage @calirootsfest

CaliRoots included Soca music to the festival for the first time with Kes the Band

The #1 Trending Soca band is coming to Toronto next!

We always want to showcase new music and talent. Kes is a perfect example because we know they deserve a later slot on the card like – that’s where they should be – because they’re awesome!”

— Dan Sheehan, Founder and Co-Owner of Good Vibez Presents

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, June 21, 2023/ — Kes the Band literally brought the sunshine and Soca to Monterey, California recently as the band of brothers from Trinidad and Tobago performed at the twelfth edition of the annual music festival produced by Good Vibez Presents. Held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in the quaint and cosy coastal town situated on the west coast of the United States, the four-day festival featured an eclectic range of performers, creatives, merchandisers, visual artists and restaurateurs amongst thousands of music-loving fans and patrons.

Challenged with the task of introducing Soca for the first time live on the main stage after an overcast morning (with temperatures dipping in the 12 – 14 degrees Celsius range on day 3), Kes wasted no time in delivering their unique blend of Carnival energy.

Enhanced with catchy hooks, conscious lyrics and cool Caribbean melodies, slangs and fun references, the number one trending Soca band delivered infectious songs like “Hello”, “Falling”, “People”, “Jub Jub” and “Wotless”.

As Soca music reverberated throughout the spacious and well-organized venue, the music-loving, marijuana-indulgent, recycle-friendly audience soon gathered in the main bowl to experience the Trini music they had only heard mentioned and described previously.

“It’s shows like these that make the Carnival circuit fun,” said lead singer, Kees (pronounced Kezz) Dieffenthaller minutes before taking the stage. “Ah like when it’s a new crowd and they’re not familiar with the music so we get to teach them first and see how they react and respond and just have fun with it. This venue is rooted in music history as the stage where Jimi Hendrix burnt his guitar and the town itself is famous for hosting so many great festivals and even being the precursor to Woodstock and that whole freedom movement. So, it’s an honor to be included on the CaliRoots cast and we’re happy to be the first to represent for Soca out here also.”

Soca music was invented in Trinidad and Tobago in the 70s by the late Calypsonian, Garfield “Ras Shorty I” Blackman and the genre has grown in popularity and prominence as “the world’s happiest music”. Propagated and cultivated by its application as the soundtrack to the Trinidad and Tobago-styled Carnival festivals, which occur annually in February in its birthplace and during different months and times in assorted cities around the world. Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island Republic located near the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean, which is known for creating cultural artforms such as Calypso, musical inventions such as the steelpan and the pre-Lenten festival known as Carnival.

Celebrities with Trinbagonian heritage and ties, include: Civil Rights Activist, Stokely Carmichael; Cricket Legend, Brian Lara; Rappers, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, Ms Universe 1998, Wendy Fitzwilliam; Actors, Winston Duke (Black Panther), Lorraine Toussaint and the late, great, Geoffrey Holder, among others.

Maintaining the conscious vibe of the festival while adding a slice of Carnival energy, Kes delivered on the promise of Soca.

“It’s all about the vibe, you know,” said Good Vibez Presents Founder, Dan Sheehan in an interview with Overtime Media. “We always want to showcase new music and talent, but it has to fit the vibe and fit into flow of the day. Kes is a perfect example because we know that Kes deserves a later slot on the card like – that’s where they should be – because they’re awesome!”

Following the band’s energetic and engaging set, which immediately elicited tons of cheers, applause and positive comments on the festival’s live streaming broadcast, Kees was interviewed by local and regional media outlets before checking out the many booths and separate stages at the festival. Later that night he hit the stage again as a special guest on Shaggy’s set and received a rousing welcome as the pair shared their hit collaboration, “Mood”.

“Big up to Shaggy every time. We have shows in Orlando from tomorrow or I would love to stay and take in the rest of it,” Dieffenthaller added, after linking up with Collie Buddz and Ineffable Records President backstage, Adam Gross backstage. “I love the energy and the vibe here – it’s rare to assemble so many like-minded people – or as we say kindred spirits – in one place, so it was our first time, but I doubt it will be our last…”

Kes is scheduled to deliver sunshine and Soca to Toronto, Canada on July 29 at the Markham Fairgrounds as they present their Trinidad Carnival Festival event entitled “IzWe” to the Caribbean Diaspora and all those gathered for Toronto Carnival (formerly known as Caribana).

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Nigel Telesford
Overtime Media
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Shaggy + Kes perform “Mood” @calirootsfest

Article originally published on as Kes brings Soca to CaliRoots Music Festival