Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2016 Contents A25
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K ees Dieffanthaller is one of the
most recognisable faces in soca
music. His boyish charm, good
looks and twinkle in the eye is what appeals
to his many female fans. And even if he has
not got a hit from the top drawer, his band
Kes the Band always manages to have a busy
This year, his big song is called People, a
tribute to all his fans and supporters who stuck
with him even when the hits weren t flowing.
In the opening lines he sings, "For all the Car-
nival I eh sing no hit, all yuh was right there,
nobody eh leave mih, For all the time I feel
to give up and quit, from the time I touch
stage, I does see all dey hands them."
Dieffanthaller s biggest year was 2011, when
he won the International Groovy Soca Monarch
with the mega hit Wotless. And while it helped
to cement his status as a bonafide soca star,
some critics have said that his career has not
quite recovered from that year of exceptional
Tonight, the 34-year-old will present the
third edition of the Carnival concert Tuesday
on the Rocks at the O2 in Chaguaramas. Based
on the buzz on the band s social media pages,
it looks like the fans are really sticking with
In between rehearsals and a corporate gig,
Dieffanthaller spoke to the T&T Guardian
about the challenges and successes he s had
"After any hit year, you are faced with the
challenge of having another the year after,"
"I look at a lot of artistes on their journey
and I realise that all of this is usually part of
the journey. How do you build from a hit? It s
a growth process. In the years after Wotless,
people expected another Wotless, but that
song was for that time. At first we took it on,
but we just had to climb to the other summit,
and to be honest, it s either you climb or you
Dieffanthaller and his band didn t start out
as a soca band. When they started performing
back in the 90s, their repertoire included rock,
soul, dancehall, reggae and some original
music. They were always keen on looking out-
side of the box and developing a sound of
In the years prior to Wotless, they produced
songs like Let Me Know, Stay With Me, Stalker
and Lion. These songs, as well as their soca
songs helped them to gain traction in new
markets. Dieffanthaller said they didn t get
jaded, but continued to make music. There
were the "summer hits" like Can t Wait, My
Love and Tuesday on the Rocks which accord-
ing to Dieffanthaller was the start of a move-
ment. The band s versatility, enabled them to
make inroads internationally, and there was
extensive touring and breaking ground in the
"We ve performed in different parts of the
United States, Dubai, Japan, Shanghai, Greece
and Belgium," he said.
"Our music is big in Hawaii and Africa is
opening up. Technology has helped us, people
are tapping in and want to see us live. Kes the
Band has always been one of the early adopters
of social media, and a strong social media
"The fans out of T&T pick up something
that s different. They don t play those songs
here but they choose other songs, so for exam-
ple, Tief a Wine is huge in Toronto," he said.
"We ve learnt that while people here were
waiting on Wotless Part 2, other songs were
getting big out there."
The San Fernando native believes that too
many artistes limit their creativity because
they stick to what might be popular at home.
"Sometimes the amount of travelling we do
it feels as if we win road march," he said,
Tonight s concert is going to feature an
eclectic cast, with Dieffanthaller describing it
as a "festival vibe".
The theme of the concert is Where the
World Meets and his cast includes local per-
formers, some from the region and beyond.
"I picked who I wanted on the show, that s
why the theme is Where the World Meets,"
"We have Lyrikal and he s a New York-
based soca artiste who broke big in T&T. Lots
of soca artistes can t make it here so I respect
him for that.
Latin singer Chris Hiero---with whom the
band collaborated for the song Body Talk---is
also on the lineup.
"We met him in NY and he writes for a lot
of Latin acts. "He is a free spirit, and like us,
he has no creative boundaries. He has no prob-
lem in trying different things. Voice, the young
writer and singer of hit song Cheers to Life
will also join the band.
The band Rock City from the Virgin Island,
who wrote Man Down for Rihanna and
Jamaican dancehall artiste Cham (aka Baby-
cham) will also grace the stage.
Dieffanthaller has always paid homage to
the masters of soca and calypso and this year
is no exception: "We wanted to pay respect
to the veterans we have worked with. I wanted
the dream of having the real men being there.
Baron, Rudder and the Mighty Shadow will
This year s concert is expected to be two-
hours long and tightly stage managed.
Dieffanthaller really wants to pay tribute to
the fans at the concert and that s why he s
happy about the success of the song People.
"With a song like People you do reflect that
you have the same folks in front the stage,
they keep you going. They keep you going.
You do feel to give up, but somewhere someone
comes to tell you that this is not only about
you. It s about the people who love your music,
it s a responsibility. You owe it to the people
who support you. You learn how to learn with
following your gut and heart regardless to
what the world wants you to do."
Television was praised as
gutsy and bold as the Screen
Actors Guild Awards hon-
oured shows that illuminate
the lives of transgender par-
ents and imprisoned women.
That s TV as in cable chan-
nels and streaming services,
with commercial networks
nearly shut out at Saturday s
awards ceremony and forced
to hear their competition laud-
ed in ways that broadcasters
rarely are these days.
"Thank you to Amazon for
their guts and support," said
Jeffrey Tambor, honoured as
best drama series actor for his
transgender role in Transpar-
ent. "I play Maura Pfefferman.
She s very entitled and she has
a lot of money, and I would
just like to dedicate this award
to the non-Maura Pfeffermans
that don t have a lot of cash
for their operations, for their
medicine, for their freedom,"
he added---a stand for advocacy
built upon the series founda-
Cable, streaming and Viola Davis star at the SAG Awards
Something for the people
Kes the Band is bringing an eclectic bunch of performers together for the third edition of their Tuesday On the Rocks Carnival concert.
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