July 31, 2021 -Jacob Desvarieux, from the West Indian group Kassav ‘, during a concert on May 16, 2009 at the Stade de France. Commenting a few months ago on the devastation of the pandemic, he wanted to be optimistic about the evolution of the situation, ” hoping that we don’t lose too many friends along the way “.
The charismatic figure of the West Indian collective Kassav ‘of which he was one of the co-founders in 1979, the singer and guitarist Jacob Desvarieux, a big fellow with a debonair appearance, in more fragile health since a kidney transplant undergone in 2013, died on 30 July following the Covid-19 at the Pointe-à-Pitre University Hospital (Guadeloupe). He was 65 years old.
« With Pierre Edouard Decimus, the group designer, who was playing in The Vikings of Guadeloupe [l’un des groupes leaders de l’île Alors, ndlr], we wanted to make Guadeloupe music that could be listened to anywhere, but frankly we didn’t think it was going to work so well Jacob Desvarieux used to say, with those laughing adolescent facial expressions that he continued to display over the years. Kassav’s first album ‘(Love and Kâ Dance) appeared in January 1980 (produced by Freddy Marshall, also co-founder of Kassav ‘). Several times gold record, platinum record in 1988 (with the album Come To), chaining a string of hits, including Zouk is our only medicine – his hymn, which will be sampled by the American hip-hop group The Fugees -, Wood saw, Where Oh Madiana, winner of a Victoire de la musique in 1988 (“Best group of the year”), Kassav ‘will become one of the most famous French groups around the world. The group of musicians performed in particular in July 1989, ten years after its creation, in Leningrad, in the Soviet Union (three concerts at the Sports Palace, 14,000 spectators in total, in a country where its records were not distributed, then reported. the newspaper Humanity).
More than a collective, the group works as a family, each member brings their know-how: Jacob Desvarieux – vocals and guitar -, Jocelyne Béroard – vocals, she joined Kassav ‘in 1982 -, Jean-Philippe Marthély – vocals -, Jean-Claude Naimro – keyboards -, Georges Decimus – bass -, Patrick Saint-Éloi – vocals, died in 2010. The group invented the zouk, a style in its own right, taken up by many other musicians. Irresistibly lively music, with energizing virtues, which mixes great case (traditional music from Guadeloupe), biguine (musical emblem of Martinique) and other Caribbean influences, rock and funk music, with beautiful outbreaks of brass. Without forgetting to slip in messages to think about, dedications to standing men, “warriors”. Like the title Doubt thorns, one of the singles of the album All U Need is Zouk (2007) in which Jacob Desvarieux lists the names of Nelson Mandela, Eugène Mona, a strong personality in traditional Martinican music and the Senegalese anthropologist historian Cheikh Anta Diop.