Trinidad and Tobago soca stars KES, also known as KES THE BAND, invites 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, KES frontman Kees Diefenthaller — also known as KES — competes 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 cinema novo movement, with its combination of vibrant saturated colors and neutral, traditional wardrobes.
“Jolene,” which premiered this month with Complex, is out now on all DSPs.
The track, a blend of soca, afrobeats, calypso and island pop flavors produced by British-Trinidadian producer, Dwala, is the first taste of KES’ next full-length album, coming this summer through California-based Ineffable Records.
“A buoyant celebration of good vibes and rolling waistlines, ‘Jolene’ is strategically timed to Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional Carnival Season — a time of year when soca artists roll out new music with the aim of soundtracking the season’s coming festivities,” said KES in a recent statement.
With Carnival celebrations on pause for a second year, KES said it 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 said. “The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures and people together in this beautiful place, and this song captures all of these vibes.”
KES said “Jolene” is the first music video from Cozier, a Trinidad native who 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 picked up for distribution in 2021 by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
In spite of the pandemic, KES said the last two years have brought a string of highlights for the band.
He said 2021 saw the US TV debut on Late Night with Steven Colbert, and a return to the states for the band’s first tour dates in over two years.
In August 2020, KES released the live album, “We Home” (Ineffable Records), a project which earned the band plaudits in outlets ranging from Essence to The FADER.
The band has also organized a run of virtual concerts that have aired live on TV across the Caribbean and streamed worldwide on its YouTube channel, timed to key dates on Trinidad & Tobago’s cultural calendar.
Watch here for “Jolene”: https://youtu.be/uZWZWV8hGyk