Kes launched IZWE (pronounced “Is We”) in 2021 as a series of five, socially-distanced concerts during what would have been that year’s Carnival season. The limited-capacity shows were the first sanctioned live music events held in Trinidad & Tobago after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which began one year earlier, and just days after the close of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival 2020.
As the world has opened up, Kes has exported IZWE in an expanded, festival form to New York City and Toronto, in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Some 8,000 fans attended each event, with July’s IzWe Toronto concert receiving national media coverage in Canada from outlets including CBC and Breakfast Television.
With IZWE 2023, the band is set to bring the show back home to Trinidad on the Tuesday before Trinidad & Tobago Carnival — the same calendar spot where Kes held its Tuesday on the Rocks concert series from 2014 to 2020. Fans can stay tuned for guest artist announcements and more details at www.kestheband.com.
Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, or Trinidad Carnival for short, is widely known as the Caribbean’s biggest and best carnival celebration, and the inspiration for cultural festivals like Notting Hill Carnival in London and Toronto’s Caribana. Held annually on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the event is known for participants’ colorful costumes and exuberant street celebrations, as well as the soca music that pro vides its soundtrack. With Carnival returning after three years — 2021 marked its first cancellation since WWII — anticipation is sky high and record attendance is expected, not only for the carnival itself but for the season of special events that precedes it.
The homecoming follows a banner 2022 for Kes, which included a mainstage performance at ESSENCE Fest in July, where the band played for one of its largest audiences to date. Summer saw Kes usher in the return of carnival celebrations across the Caribbean and its Diaspora, with performances in Guyana, Barbados, Anguilla, Grenada, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Toronto, London, and New York City. Their Liki Tiki U.S. Tour followed in September and October, with sold out dates up and down the East and West Coast.
“Liki Tiki” is currently up for GRAMMY® consideration in the Best Global Music Performance category.