It seems like Kes can’t miss these days. Less than two months after bringing us the joyful calypso pop of “Jolene,” Kees and the band are back with the smooth and subtle slow-wine jam “Liki Tiki,” out now from Ineffable Records.
What makes “Liki Tiki,” a collaboration with Haitian super-producer Michaël Brun and Haitian singer JPerry, along with songwriter/producer/frequent Kes collaborator Dwala, so special is its seamless fusion of soca and kompa. Brun’s production subtly evokes Haiti with its folksy acoustic guitar melody, while the rhythm and Kes’ lyrics take us into the streets of Port-of-Spain. JPerry finishes things on a strong note, delivering his last verse in impassioned Haitian Kreyol.
It’s a mix that’s right on time, as soca has increasingly been taking on influences from the Francophone Caribbean. But “Liki Tiki” brings things to another level, by adding a pop sheen that make this one a strong candidate to become soca’s next crossover hit.
The title itself is a reference to the drum sound heard on the track, and one that is synonymous with soca.
“Liki Tiki is the way I describe our calypso-style rhythms and feel,” Kes says. “It’s the driving force behind the swing in our music. It’s smooth, sexy and makes you feel good.”
In recent years, both Kes and Michaël Brun have emerged as leaders in championing Caribbean music globally— Kes with soca and calypso, the homegrown sounds of Trinidad & Tobago, and Brun with Haitian music genres such as kompa and rara. It was only natural, they explained, for them to join up to fuse their sounds.
“From the moment I was able to link up with Kees, it was clear he cared so much about Trinidadian and Caribbean culture, unifying the Caribbean, and creating a strong bond between us artists and what we’re doing,” Michaël Brun says. “Kes has the same mission as JPerry and myself. Kes is an artist bringing soca to the world and JPerry is bringing Haitian music to the world. The balance feels fresh and rooted.”
Listen to “Liki Tiki” below, and look out for more new music from the Kes camp as they gear up to drop their next album this Summer.