11/24/13: When you hear the music of Kassav', you'll know it. This group formed in 1979 by Pierre-Decimus and Paris studio musician Jacob F. Desvarieux produces rousing Guadeloupean carnival music with a much more orchestrated, yet modern style.
What does Kassav' sound like exactly? Well, they say they've created their own style by introducing an eleven-piece gwo ka unit and two lead singers, tambour, ti bwa, beguine and cadence-lypso (a blend of calypso and cadence or compas with use of MIDI. The digital format made them the talk of the Caribbean music world.
The carnival style of music, known as Zouk or Zouk beton, pushed Kassav' into the spotlight, as they were the leading band to emerge with this style. In fact, their very first album, "Love and Ka Dance" established 'the new sound of Zouk' as something many on the global scene had never heard before. They followed with 12 more studio albums, six live albums and 11 compilation albums.
Many say the band peaked in 1985 with "Yelele," which featured the international hit "Zouk la se sel medikaman nou ni" (which translates to "Zouk is the only medicine we have" in French Antillean Creole). It sparked a wisdespread dance craze in Latin America and the Caribbean. Henceforth, the group became famous for its theatrical concerts, featuring special effects and vibrant costumes. They even have featured dancers on stage, and consider them as much a part of the band as any musician.
They have appeared with Admiral T, as well as many other popular artists. Singer-songwriter/keyboardist Jean-Claude Naimro has performed with Peter Gabriel, and lead vocalist Jocelyne Béroard was the first woman artist in the Caribbean to win several distinct music awards; she continues to perform both with Kassav' and as a solo artist.
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