After a number of years as a back-up singer for well-known African music artists and meticulous efforts to develop her own unique style in the clubs of New York City, Kaïssa has finally blessed her fans with the stunning debut album we've been yearning for. Our excitement must be similar to that of an astronomer witnessing the birth of a new star, thrilled with the knowledge that this is just the beginning of what will surely be a bright and fiery future.
I'm sure if you are hearing the power and beauty of Kaïssa's music for the first time you will join her avid following, and be compelled to spread the word about this African diva. While she may be new to many, Kaïssa is very familiar to fans of African music in New York, which has been her home base since 1996. Her endearing personality, passionate performances and voice which combines the smoothness of velvet with vivacious intensity, has earned her a growing group of adoring fans, eager to share their enthusiasm with others.
You may wonder after listening to this masterful album, "Who is this woman and where did she come from?" Kaissa was born in Cameroon and moved with her family to Paris when she was 13. The City of Lights is home to a thriving and multicultural music scene with artists from all walks of life, coming together to create new and exciting flavors. Besides touring and/or recording as a back-up singer with well-known African artists like Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Cesaria Evora, Kasse Mady and Papa Wemba, Kaïssa also worked with French pop star CharlElie Couture, multimedia artist and musician Jean-Michel Jarre and American stars Martha Wash and Diana Ross.
New York has offered her a wealth of new collaborators, including Patrice Bihina, a producer, composer and guitarist who co-wrote many of the songs on this album, Tony Cedras, a highly-respected South African musician who has recorded with Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffet, and Cassandra Wilson among others, and her husband, the masterful drummer Maciek Schejbal, the producer of this album. Many other talented veterans of the music world in New York have joined in to lend a hand on this album, among them Fred Doumbe and Andre Manga.
Looking There has been many years in the making, and Kaïssa and her colleagues have devoted great care and persistence to ensure that it reflects her true artistry and depth of talent. For those of us who have been patiently awaiting its arrival, this album exceeds even our wildest hopes and captures the spirit and soul of a star that will certainly be dazzling us for years to come.
(From CD liner notes)
Kaïssa-lead and backing voices
Maciek Schejbal-drums, percussion, percussion programming
Fred Doumbe-bass, guitar, backing voices, percussion, percussion programming
Tony Cedras-guitar, keyboards, accordion
Andre Manga-bass, guitar
Aaron Heick-saxophone, flute
Kofo the Wonderman-talking drums