Home CULTURE KASSAV’: Jacob Desvarieux, of his African origins.

KASSAV’: Jacob Desvarieux, of his African origins.


Jacob Desvarieux lived for ten years between Guadeloupe and Martinique. His mother, who loved traveling, brought him back to Paris and then to Senegal. They spent two years during which Jacob learned the guitar with friends, close to Youssou N’Dour then they returned to Marseille. There, he founded a band of Rock with his friends. He returned to Paris at the time of the disco and became musician and studio arranger. And he meets Pierre-Edouard DECIMUS with whom he created KASSAV.

On his relationship with Africa, he said: “I was 10 years old when my mother, a dressmaker, decided to move to Africa thanks to her friends who advised her to discover this continent whose image was distorted by the media of the time. They were said to be savages as in Tarzan, living in miserable huts, tribal wars, catastrophes, as many clichés as she wanted to fight. We took the boat and landed in Dakar. I lived there from 1966 to 1968. I went to school there, I learned my first guitar notes with the big brothers of the neighborhood and I keep very vivid memories. I had to believe that I was predestined for this meeting with Africa. These are my origins. From the first contact with this continent, I felt at home, as in the West Indies. Apart from the size of the country, I recognized the black population, the same vegetation, the same houses, the same atmosphere. I’m not a stranger here. People are culturally, traditionally, welcoming. You are black, you are welcome. The Africans express it to you by calling you “my brother”. I think all Caribbean people should go to Africa at least once. I appreciate their wisdom, the respect they have for the elders. “

From Studio to Caribbean Dream

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In 1979 he co-created the group KASSAV, first group “of studio”, then in 1982 began the tours. 1985 brought fame to the group, and the birth of his twin sons. In 1986 the album “Yélélé”, in which he collaborated with Georges DECIMUS (1984), was the first West Indian album with the best track that propelled  the band internationally: “Zouk la sé sèl médikaman nou ni.” Not satisfied with Kassav’s records and solo albums alone, he created in 1987 “Le rêve antillais”, a singing contest allowing the winner to record an album. There were 3 editions: 1987, which saw the emergence of Pascal VALLOT, then 1988, and 1992.

JACOB DESVARIEUX, emblematic figure of the KASSAV group.


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