Calling all fans of fettin’ and festivals! For more than two years now, we’ve suffered from chronic carnival tabanca due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kees Dieffenthaller, frontman of the genre-bending Trinidadian band Kes (also known as Kes The Band) explained, “Tabanca is our way of saying heartache. It was definitely a lot of heartache,” the “Wotless” vocalist told VIBE with a laugh, adding, “And heartache in many directions.”
But just in time for the start of carnival season 2022, Kes—whose musical aesthetic quenches the soul like a delicious rum punch made from a mix of soca, calypso, reggae, and pop—joined forces with real-life cousins Haitian singer JPerry and producer Michaël Brun on their latest single, “Liki Tiki.”
The VIBE exclusive video premiere from the band’s upcoming album, expected to drop this summer, is directed by Trinidadian filmmaker Maya Cozier (“Jolene”) and showcases the cultural diversity of the song’s contributors.
“Cross-pollination is just so interesting and it keeps the creativity alive, it just continues to inspire,” expressed Kes.
The premise for the visual is simple: a good ol’ Caribbean house party. The video for the feel-good track opens with someone setting up a sound system by arranging speakers, connecting audio cables, and testing levels using a vinyl record player. No smartphones or laptops here.
As a group of girlfriends arrive, a red-lipped, cat-eyed vixen catches Kes’ eye. Immediately smitten by her beauty, he follows her down a staircase singing, “All of the signs revealing / Doh leh we waste the time / Come along / For the ride.”
The flags of various islands including Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas decorate the walls of a dimly lit red room. Most of the partygoers hold matching red cups as they dance to the sound of music and spoons clanging against liquor bottles in the midst of laughter, weed smoke, and lighters in the air.
JPerry grabs the mic halfway through the visual singing, “Cause we vibes on top,” as he hypes up the crowd. Later in the song, he does what Michaël Brun calls his “signature,” explaining, “He can pretty seamlessly jump between English and Kreyòl and it just feels natural.” “Oh ti doudou m’pakache diw (Oh my baby, I’m so sorry) / Mwen konn sa pou’m fè’w (I don’t know what to do),” croons the One life to live singer.
After some sensual slow wines on the dancefloor with his love interest, Kes takes her hand and the pair steal away to a dark and empty alleyway. With his back against a building, she presses her hands on the wall behind him. As she leans in close, the video concludes with a stunning profile image of the two under the moonlight.
When asked to describe the unique style of “Liki Tiki” the 2011 King of International Soca Monarch mentioned a litany of musical influences including soca, kompa, reggaeton, dancehall, and pop. “It’s a global sound. I think there’s a touch of everything in there,” said Kes. “I think it just kinda reflects the music of now in that there are no borders anymore. Genres are blurred and I feel like we just wanna make music that feels good.”
Stay tuned for our full interview with Kes where he opens up about his pandemic experience and its impact on the band’s new album, his mission “to bridge gaps between genres and worlds,” and the interesting meaning behind the term “Liki Tiki.”
Watch the video for the Michaël Brun-produced song by Kes featuring JPerry above.