To be sure, in the beginning there was a need to present an invitation to a dance called Escapism. The visionary was Bronx born August Darnell. Disillusioned by the politics in his big brother’s band, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, Mr. Darnell jumped ship in 1980 and formed Kid Creole and the Coconuts with his then wife Adriana Kaegi who created the Coconuts, and his buddy Sugar Coated Andy. Thus began the odyssey. Fast forward to 30 years later and the man and his band are still synonymous with over the rainbow adventure: Deluxe Escapism.
In the beginning there was a vision by Kid Creole – the vision of a multicultural carnival without stylistic limitations; the vision of a colorful theater with fascinating characters; the vision of an exuberant joyous lifestyle full of irony, humor and sophistication.
To be sure, in the beginning there was a need to present an invitation to a dance called Escapism. The visionary was Bronx born August Darnell. Disillusioned by the politics in his big brother’s band, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, Mr. Darnell jumped ship in 1980 and formed Kid Creole and the Coconuts with his then wife Adriana Kaegi who originally created all the choreography and costumes, and his buddy Coati Mundi. Thus began the odyssey. Fast forward 43 years later and the man and his band are still synonymous with over the rainbow adventure: Deluxe Escapism.
“In other times, Darnell might have been called a wit. His best songs are dazzlingly witty: they can also be sarcastic, ambiguous, deceptively eager to please. It’s pop as a moving target, brightly-colored –even garish, but rich with shades of grey.” (David Peschek)
The Kid Creole credo is best summed up by August Darnell himself:
“The beauty of music is its possibilities for mutation, and that mutation represents a larger global ideal: global coexistence.” Indeed.
“Darnell charted the glorious polyglot pop music of New York City in the 1970s and ’80s as well as any one individual could. His body of work has kept him relevant well into the 21st century; his songs have been sampled by Ghostface Killah, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, and the Avalanches (to name a few), and the growing interest in New York’s disco history via acts such as LCD Soundsystem, !!!, and Hercules and Love Affair has further prolonged interest.” (Andy Beta)
“Darnell unveiled a project that would both define his career and subvert notions of category in pop music – Kid Creole and the Coconuts. He explored reggae and calypso through a prism of funk, pop, new wave, and disco.”(Christian John Wikane)
“Darnell’s band Kid Creole and the Coconuts is the finest iteration of his musical razzmatazz. The band was an amalgam of bygone outsized personas like Jimmy Durante, Carmen Miranda, and of course, Cab Calloway, its music navigating the waters between disco, calypso, show tunes, soul, big band, pop, funk, and new wave.” (Andy Beta)
The gleefully multifarious August Darnell released his 15th studio album in Sept. 2011. It was entitled I WAKE UP SCREAMING.
“August Darnell/Kid Creole has always been a master of a dark story delivered under the most danceable and light sounding music and I really wondered what he had to offer in his first album for 10 years.
The answer is pretty much exactly what he is best at – if you don’t listen to his lyrics this is some of the most delicious Caribbean flavoured dance music and heartfelt balladeering in years.
But if you listen to his lyrics you find little gems like the title track: his and hers stories about a tropical holiday – he wants it but she ain’t giving it and she wants a holiday without constant booty calls. This is NOT a happy tale.
Every number is a story in its own right, no bland chest beating or regular love songs and the whole album is loaded with some superb playing. This is like a stage show where the ensemble each have their own tale to tell in a style all their own.
I think that we have really missed Kid Creole – there really isn’t anyone who creates music that you can dance to and wince at the story at the same time.
This isn’t quite as good as his classic period of the ‘80’s but it comes close – essential.” (Andy Snipper)
“Whether strolling through Central Park, sailing on the Hudson, or visiting the world of music created by August Darnell, the magic of New York lives on in every sunset and every dawn.” (Christian John Wickane)
Kid Creole and the Coconuts current band members:
Mark Anthony Jones: from New York City; and he’s the funkiest guitarist alive!
Jamie McCredie: he’s a Jordy through and through; and sure knows his way around the guitar!
Otto Williams: a bass player from the US and boy is he funky!
Mike Gorman: he’s the keyboard player and the MD; and he cooks a mean curry!
George Hogg: he’s the trumpet player; and boy can he blow a good tune!
Barnaby Dickinson: he’s the trombonist; he carries that big bone everywhere he goes!
Edgar Jones: he’s the saxophonist; and he’s also a red wine connoisseur!