BORN in Cameroon, west Africa, Ka´ssa moved to Paris with her family at age 13.
After high school, she completed two years of legal studies at Nanterre
University in Paris, before increasing calls for her participation in studio
sessions prompted her to turn full time to her music career.
In 1991, she joined CharlElie Couture's European tour, and also participated in the album recording. She subsequently worked with a multitude of African and mainstream music groups, contributing both in live performances and studio work. She can be heard on the recordings of Salif Keita, and was profiled as a featured vocalist on Manu Dibango's Wakafrika album (1993).
During the early 1990's, she participated in major international tours with
African artists such as Salif Keita, Manu Dibango and Papa Wemba, building her profile as a sought after vocalist. She also performed with Jean-Michel Jarre in his Parisian multimedia events. Further studio calls resulted, and Kaissa was booked for commercial sessions, and also to work several movie soundtracks.
With the encouragement of Manu Dibango, Salif Keita and Papa Wemba, Ka´ssa launched into a solo career, initially performing with her quintet in Paris in 1996. During the year, she did further tours with Salif Keita and Papa Wemba, visiting Europe, Africa and Latin America, before relocating to New York.
Working from her new base in the USA, Ka´ssa's profile was enhanced as she performed regularly at New York City venues, and also began collaborations with North American entertainers. She appeared
with Dianna Ross on the Oprah Winfrey show, and also contributed to the recording of her compatriot Andre Manga's album, "Mother Rhythm", and subsequent "Jazzhole" release.
2001 saw Ka´ssa winning the "Best African Female Vocalist" award from the US African Eye magazine, and by 2002, she had commenced work writing and recording towards her debut album. The album "Looking There" was released in South Africa by Sony Music SA in 2004, and the inclusion of tracks on compilations of the US Putumayo label has equally met with enthusiastic media response.
Ka´ssa's touring schedule has increased following the album release, and in June 2004 her group featured at Germany's Wurzburg Festival, and also performed in Poland.
Footnote: Ka´ssa's South African links
Through the years, Ka´ssa developed strong links with South Africa, its
music and musicians. She first visited the country in 1993 as part of Manu
Dibango's group - the "Soul Makossa Gang", and returned with Salif Keita's group in 1998. Since relocating to New York, she has built contact with the core of African and South African artists in that city, and it is no surprise that her debut album features South African Tony Cedras, and Cameroonian Andre Manga amongst many exciting contributors. Her album is produced by Maciek Schejbal, a Polish-born drummer/percussionist, who spent a decade living, teaching and performing in South Africa. (footnote contributed by Steve Gordon)
www.kaissa.com is a regularly updated site which includes image galleries, audio clips, and current performance listings.