Primary Instrument: Vocalist
To wèni na mala na ma wassa Mboa, mboa mboa (Wherever I go I’m looking for home home home)
This is the chorus of Kaïssa’s song “To Ndje,” in which she sings of her longing for Africa and the hope to someday return to her homeland of Cameroon. The song envelopes the listener and she conveys the message with such emotion that we are on the journey with her, a spellbinding singer heralded as the New Voice of Africa.
When an original voice rises up, music lovers are moved to listen. Now Kaïssa is the one motivating a fast-growing audience, connecting through soaring vocal talents and the irresistible African-inspired rhythms of her songs. A child of the culturally rich Republic of Cameroon, Kaïssa’s passion for music was fueled by the romance of Paris, where her family relocated when she was still young. Kaissa’s vocal ability began to turn heads in studios throughout the City of Lights, and when the opportunity to join French multi-media artist CharlElie Couture’s European tour arose, Kaïssa stepped on the bus and never looked on the bus and never looked back.
Kaïssa’s voice is a unique instrument an electric mix of character and clarity, strength and fragility, total control and unbridled joy. Besides captivating audiences, her peers took notice as well, winning her a steady stream of work around the world with luminary artists such as: Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba, Salif Keita, Jean-Michel Jarre, Cesaria Evora, Sekouba Bambino, Martha Wash and Diana Ross to name a few.
Now New York-based, Kaïssa has surrounded herself with a group of world-class musicians that are building on her vision. Her debut album, “LOOKING THERE” was released in March 2004 by Sony Music South Africa and received rave reviews for its highly engaging vocals and pulsating African/Western rhythmic backdrops. Behind the beauty, however, there is always a message, with Kaissa’s poignant lyrics talking frankly about the human condition, speaking out against war and injustice, and calling gloriously to her native Cameroon for its love of life and the human spirit. Other heartfelt topics include the joy of playing music, and her connection to relatives both living and passed on, while the album’s title speaks to Kaïssa’s own personal way of looking for others, or “beyond”.
Success breeds success, and “LOOKING THERE” has led Kaïssa to the next level, with featured slots on four Putumayo compilations including “GLOBAL SOUL,” “WORLD REGGAE,” “WOMEN OF AFRICA” and “WOMEN OF THE WORLD-ACOUSTIC.” Her riveting performance at the XVI Africa Festival in Würzburg Germany in May, 2004 led critics to dub her “one of the future great voices of Africa”. The screen is also squarely in Kaissa’s sights, with multiple television appearances helping to expose her to an even wider audience.
Paul Simon's retrospective residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in April 2008 exposed Kaïssa to such an audience, she has been chosen as one of the guest performers (among David Byrne, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Luciana Souza and Vusi Mahlasela) to sing several of Paul Simon songs comprising Under African Skies concerts, which celebrated “Graceland” and The Rhythm of the Saints” albums. During the same time, Kaïssa's new track “LONON” appeared on a new, children- oriented Putumayo World Music compilation “AFRICAN DREAMLAND.”
Kaïssa has been very active in 2011 and recently produced and released the record “I'm So Happy.” Having penned most of the tunes and carefully chosen the accompanying musicians, it is a very personal effort which showcases her unique vocal talent.
With a steady calendar of live appearances scheduled and a new album out, this vibrant artist continues to expand her horizons.
Source: James Nadal