Next month, Trinidad & Tobago goes into full Carnival mode and local band Kes are getting us fired up early with their new single “Jolene”. The track is also the first cut to emerge from an upcoming album scheduled for release later this year.

The Caribbean four-piece first caught our attention a couple of years ago with their seamless blend of Caribbean and West African influences, a fusion they’ve dubbed ‘Afro-soca’. It’s been an ongoing mission of theirs to bridge the gap between West Africa and the Caribbean, a gap which has a long and fractious history, and it’s seen them export the sound globally with collaborations with everyone from Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire to John Legend.

On “Jolene”, however, it’s all Kes and they’re bringing things back to Trinidad & Tobago to celebrate everything the Caribbean country has to offer and the people that call it home. With a blanket of frost currently covering the UK, we can at least pretend we’re elsewhere thanks to the gently bouncing bass licks and the soaring vocals of Kes frontman Kees Diefenthaller.

“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,” says Dieffenthaller. “The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures and people together in this beautiful place, and this song captures all of these vibes.” 

If you’re not lucky enough to be celebrating Carnival in the Caribbean this year, Kes have organised a series of virtual concerts that have aired live on TV across the Caribbean and streamed worldwide on YouTube, timed to key dates on Trinidad & Tobago’s cultural calendar. Keep an eye on the band’s YouTube channel for the next one.