Kes The Band brings ‘IzWe’ concert series to Coney Island on Labor Day

Members of Kes the Band.
Marlon James

Trinidad & Tobago soca stars Kes The Band will hit the road in the US this fall for their first tour dates in two years.

On Labor Day Monday, Sept. 6, the band will bring its “IzWe” concert series — a curated celebration of soca music and Caribbean Carnival culture — to The Boardwalk Lot, Coney Island, Brooklyn.

With New York’s annual West Indian American Day Carnival Parade — which typically brings at least two million revelers to Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway on Labor Day Monday — cancelled, for a second year, due to COVID-19, Kes The Band said on Tuesday that it aims “to fill the void with a night of performances by some of soca music’s biggest names.”

For “IzWe NY,” the band it has handpicked a roster of top performers from its native Trinidad & Tobago, including Iwer George, Nailah Blackman, Patrice Roberts, Nadia Batson, Farmer Nappy, Ravi B and Etienne Charles, as well as Barbados soca icon Alison Hinds, St. Lucia’s Teddyson John and Nomcebo (of “Jerusalema” fame) from South Africa.

“This show has a lot of meaning for us,” said Kees Dieffenthaller, frontman for Kes The Band. “New York has always been like a second home, and, throughout our career, we’ve never missed a chance to play the city on Labor Day weekend.

“Coming here has extra importance this time, especially because we’re getting to bring out so many of our favorite artists from back home,” he added.

The concert is one of 10 dates which Kes The Band is set to play on its “IzWe Tour”, which launched on Friday, Aug. 28, at Norfolk, Virginia’s Town Point Park.

Additional stops include Orlando; Washington, D.C; Atlanta; Houston and Miami, where the group will headline North Beach Bandshell on Sept. 4h and return for three straight nights, Oct. 7-9, during Miami Carnival, the first major-city Caribbean carnival celebration since February 2020.

Despite the pandemic, recent times have brought a string of highlights for Kes The Band.

During the traditional Trinidad Carnival season this February, the band said it filled the void for live music by launching its “IzWe” event series with five nights of socially-distanced concerts.

Open to just 300 patrons each night, the events were live-streamed worldwide.

August 2020 saw the release of the live album, “We Home”, Kes The Band’s first new full-length project in eight years.

Days before the world came to a halt last year, the band said it “wrapped a massively successful campaign at 2020’s Trinidad Carnival,” winning the annual International Soca Monarch competition and capturing the Road March title, with “Stage Gone Bad.”

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