Calypso Revival: Kes + Kernal Roberts Get Retro on “Shake”

Words by Tishanna Williams
kes-kernal-roberts-shake-2017-soca

โ€œShake,โ€ Kes‘ first release for the 2017 Carnival season, sees the Trinidadian soca star teamed up with Kernel โ€œKitchโ€ Roberts.

Known for his work with Machel Montano โ€” for whom he’s worked as writer, producer, musical director and drummer โ€” โ€œKitchโ€ is striking out on his own this year. With his reputation as a hitmaker, it’s no surprise that he would find himself collaborating with another high-caliber international artist in Kes.

If โ€œShakeโ€ sounds familiar to you soca lovers and Carnival goers, it’s because its arrangement is similar to Machel Montano and Xtatikโ€™s 2005 hit, โ€œBubbleNut.โ€ Musically, it has a vintage swing with a brass band/pan melody and a strong riddim section, offering a fresh take on Trinidadโ€™s golden era of calypso. You could call it a follow-up to Kes’ โ€œComing Over,โ€ a track inspired by The Roaring Lionโ€™s 1945 calypso, โ€œMiss Dorothy.โ€ Kernel Roberts is the son of the late, great Lord Kitchener โ€” one of the pioneers of Soca music and a legend rivaled only in the history books of Trinidad by the Mighty Sparrow โ€” and someone who knows a thing or two about vintage sounds. And, in case you didn’t get the message, the song’s cover art features an elegant depiction of Dame Lorraine, a traditional Trinidad Carnival masquerade character.

With its vintage swing and lyrics focused on the ladies pelting waist, โ€œShakeโ€ has the makings of a Carnival hit for 2017 โ€” and maybe even a new Jโ€™Ouvert standard. Listen here:

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