Kassav’ (Haitian and Antillean Creole for a local dish made from cassava) is a Francophone zouk band which was formed in 1979. The core members of the band are Jocelyne Beroard, Jacob Desvarieux, Jean-Philippe Marthely, Patrick St. Eloi, Jean-Claude Naimro, Claude Vamur and Georges Decimus (who left the band to create another band, Volte Face, before returning to Kassav’ later) along with several other, more minor members. The total number of albums by the band and its members is approximately 30.
Kassav’ was formed in 1979 by Pierre-Edouard Décimus, a long-time professional musician who worked with Freddy Marshall. Together, the two of them decided to take carnival music and make it a more modern and polished style. It was the leading band to emerge from the formative years of Zouk. They gave the style a pan-Caribbean sound by taking elements from kompa, salsa, and calypso, and became world famous. Their first album, Love and Ka Dance (1980), established the sound of zouk.
Kassav’ continued to grow more popular, both as a group and with several members’ solo careers, finally peaking in 1985 with Yélélé, which featured the international hit “Zouk la sé sèl médikaman nou ni” (meaning “Zouk is our only drug” in French Antillean Creole) With this hit, zouk rapidly became a widespread dance craze in Latin America and the Caribbean, and was popular in Europe, Africa, and Asia.