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A Talk with Jacob Desvarieux


Jacob Desvarieux is our Guest star this month after the grand success of the Mawonajtour following the release of the album Sonjé in May 13, 2013, He sacrificed a few moments, of his life to answer our questions; an exercise we are eternally grateful. Fans around the world will not be disappointed on the contrary let’s read what he says about his life as artist, Kassav, and its new project. His frankness and courtesy will surprise you.

Flashmag: Jacob to be honest we did not think you would have a free minute to devote to the exercise questions –answers, with Flashmag! The time of this interview our tribune is yours. Tell us the music you discover it when your mother gives you your first guitar or you already knew something about it?

Jacob Desvarieux: The guitar was an attempt to distract me from the bike I wanted, suddenly the temptation of music came two or three years later, when in Senegal.

Flashmag: your sojourn during your childhood in Senegal, how much it will contribute to the artist you has become?

Jacob Desvarieux: This is where I learned to play the guitar, and it is certain that the music of the Sahel have influenced me for what followed.

Flashmag: when did you finally say that my way is music?

Jacob Desvarieux: While I was in high school, I played in a band with classmates, and then I guess compliments of professional musicians in the region influenced my decision.

Flashmag : follower of Rock in the 60s you reconvert yourself to the credo local of Zouk, especially with the formation of Kassav , this return to the source, as music lover we cannot regret because it gave us more than 30 years of happiness already , but still to make the typical Creole music represented what for you in Europe of disco years ? It was still a risk to take, or once again the choice imposed itself?

Jacob Desvarieux: This is a series of circumstances, I first slipped from the rock to blues and rhythm, then I participated in many African discs as guitarist, arranger and sound engineer ...

Flashmag: A true Alchemy of Afro Caribbean rhythms, with a good mix of rhythms such as Gwoka, Biguine the Kompa and even Makossa from Cameroon according to you why the sauce Kassav took? Is it due to fingering artists who composed the famous group or the public enthusiasm and love towards an almost new kind of music that imposed itself in the global cultural landscape?Jacob Desvarieux: There is a bit of everything, as well as the originality of the approach.

Flashmag: In 1983, the final frame of the group is made. Jocelyne, Jean -Philippe and Patrick, in the chants, Jacob, guitars and vocals, Jean- Claude in the keyboards, Georges on the bass, Claude Vamur in the drums. In addition, the group uses two dancers Catherine Laupa and Marie -Josée Gibon who granted us an interview a few months ago. Is there a basis on which you were recruiting members of your group? Was it the people that you met on the path of music and whom you had prior knowledge of the background or did you simply posted some ads?

Jacob Desvarieux: it was mostly done by meeting on the path of music. And there were also musicians who wanted to join us because they found it interesting.

Flashmag: 35 years later 15 Albums with Kassav whether to choose a highlight of your career with Kassav, which would you, choose?

Jacob Desvarieux: The first tour in Africa or the first Zenith ... or the Stade de France, or....

Flashmag: the life in group is sometimes quite complex. How have you managed to keep a balance between the members and the group until the current hour who is your best sidekick in the group?

Jacob Desvarieux: Georges.

Flashmag: you will realize three solo albums on the side, what represent these albums for you, a way to make your own sauce or a moment of escape?

Jacob Desvarieux: A moment of escape is the word!

Flashmag: In terms of collaborations it is true you had many, but which one do you think is the most original? I hope I do not make some jealous with this question?

Jacob Desvarieux: true I don’t want to make some jealous but every time I have accepted to work on a collaboration project, it's because I had find something interesting on it.

Flashmag: over 30 years of music is huge, what continue to make the musical engine run in Jacob, you're indestructible?

Jacob Desvarieux: The public.

Flashmag: You have traveled the four corners of the globe, is there any audience that has particularly impressed you?

Jacob Desvarieux: I am very impressed by all those people who do not speak our language and sing our songs despite everything.

Flashmag: You made some pegs in the Cinema notably on Simeon a film of Euzhan Palcy in 1992 where you play the role of Isidore, and in Switch from Schoendoerffer in 2011 where you played Pat. How cinema has contributed to your music and how music helped you to make films?

Jacob Desvarieux: I think Euzhan was a little bit inspired by the story of Kassav ' to write the screenplay. For the rest I participate occasionally in films by militancy, in France there are very few roles for black actors, I’m offered some small roles because I'm already known, and I agree when my schedule allows it, hoping that it will open the door to black actors who are much better than me.

Flashmag: you are doing the right thing Jacob. As a Veteran in music worldwide and Afro Caribbean what do you think of the music of the Afro-Caribbean musicians today, and of the world music movement in general, where commercial and talent seem to struggle in a deadly duel?

Jacob Desvarieux: The ideal is to be able to trade without compromise in quality or talent.

Flashmag: In 2013, for the first time, the group Kassav played at the Olympia on 8 and 15 December 2013 to close their Mawonaj ‘tour from the album Sonjé, released in May 2013 what are the prospects of future for Kassav and Jacob Devarieux in 2014?

Jacob Desvarieux: We attack a tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album Yélélé that contains among others song like “Zoukla sé sèl médikaman nou Ni”, and that was our first gold record. We will play the entire album and more....

Flashmag: when Jacob Desvarieux looks at his artistic career today what feeling he has, if he had to do it again will he change anything?

Jacob Desvarieux: I will try to do the same and better ...

Flashmag: to close a special word to the public?

Jacob Desvarieux: Thank you. Continue to support us by buying our records and coming to many concerts, without you we are nothing.Flashmag: Jacob Desvarieux Flashmag and its readership thank you for this interview.

Marlin Flashmag.jpg

Interview conducted by Hubert Marlin Jr, with the


Collaboration of Cynthia Phibel.

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