Jacob Desvarieux, founder of the Kassav ‘group and father of zouk, died at the age of 65

Guadeloupe guitarist Jacob Desvarieux died Friday July 30 as a result of Covid-19, reports The 1st. In fragile health since a kidney transplant, the 65-year-old musician was hospitalized on July 12 in Pointe-à-Pitre after being infected with the coronavirus. He was one of the founders of the group Kassav ‘, a monument of West Indian music which enjoyed enormous success in the 1980s by mixing Caribbean rhythms to create a new genre, zouk.

“At the beginning, it was a laboratory: we were looking to find a soundtrack which synthesizes all the traditions and previous sounds, but which can be exported everywhere”, had told the musician to Release in 2016. A cocktail that gives birth to hits sung in Creole, like Zit is also our only medicine (1984, on an album that Desvarieux co-signs with another founder of Kassav ‘but which does not come out under the name of the group) or Wood saw (1987). “Through our music, we questioned our origins. What were we doing there, we who were black and spoke French?”, he explained on a daily basis.

Many personalities paid tribute to Jacob Desvarieux, Friday and Saturday. Guadeloupe judoka Teddy Riner greeted “a huge voice from the West Indies”, while the former minister Christiane Taubira, originally from Guyana, recalled “his voice, his draw, his talent, his joy, this smile, this tilt of the head and even his overalls of the beginnings”. “The West Indies, Africa and music have just lost one of its greatest ambassadors. Jacob thanks to your art, you have brought the West Indies closer to Africa. Dakar where you lived is crying to you. Goodbye friend “, tweeted Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour.

“The French are losing today a talented artist and a voice known to all”, also reacted the Minister of Overseas Affairs, Sébastien Lecornu, paying tribute to the “legendary singer of the Kassav ‘group”. “My thoughts are on his loved ones, to whom I send my most sincere condolences“, he added.

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