KASSAV hail from the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Antilles, also known as the “French Caribbean”.
The members built atop the indigenous, creole, carnival and orchestral music forms, and pioneered “Zouk” – uptempo tropical dance music that draws on global influences.
Although the bandmembers lived in the Antilles, they had close links with the Paris music scene, where African and other styles exploded onto the live music scene in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Paris was the conduit through which many of Africa’s musicians came to global attention, and became a second home for the sounds of soukous, makossa, mbalax and myriad other styles.
Kassav's creativity saw them modernizing the old island styles, and transposing them into the modern instrumentation - slick synthesis and high tech production values re-packaged deep roots.
And the members drew on genres as diverse as rock, calypso and r 'n b, plus of course, sounds from elsewhere in the Caribbean and Africa. The result was the polished tropical dance music known as Zouk, massively popular throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and its diaspora.
By the mid 1980’s, Kassav’s audience spread from the African Diaspora, to the African continent. Naturally the first visits were to the Francophone African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal. To date, the list of regular destinations spans from Algeria and Tunisia in the north, through Niger, Benin, Cameroon, DRC, Congo, Madagascar and Kenya, and as far south as Mozambique and Angola.
Zouk, African, fusion
The international stature of Kassav was consolidated by the end of the 1980’s: aside from sold out seasons of shows at Paris’ famous Zenith venue, they took their sound to Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portugal and the Scandinavian lands. Shows in Japan, USSR, North and South America deserve mention, and especially the growing audience in Brazil.
Kassav’s members all have solo careers, and have a collective tally of well over 50 albums spanning a thirty year career. (Just a few are included on our page below, but to get a real insight into the thirty years of work, albums, touring and film, visit the Kassav website linked at the bottom of this page.)
The group tour extensively, and are regular festival headliners in Africa, the Americas and Europe.
visit the KASSAV website