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"Kiskadee, Singer & Musician - Music is in my blood"

Singer and musician Kiskadee, real name Jeanette Contant-Galitello, is on the edge of something big. With a distinctive fusion of calypso, West Indian vibes and r'n'b, the 37-year-old from Belmont is creating quite a stir in the music world.

She has just returned from a recording stint in America with John Barnes, an acclaimed musician and producer who has worked with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Lionel Richie.

On the home front, she has had two tracks produced by Andy Whitmore, the man behind Peter Andre's Flava and Atomic Kitten's Ladies' Night.

She has been featured on Radio 4, interviewed on Sutton's very own Radio Active and recently made an appearance on popular morning chatshow Trisha.

The fact influential people are backing her and the media are interested has given Kiskadee a big boost in confidence and she can barely contain her excitement at the prospect that quite soon she might get that all-important big break.

She says: "Let's just say things are happening. They're definitely happening in America, over there it's been snowballing.

advertisement"I still want to see more things happening on this side of the Atlantic though. I'm also in need of a manager."

Singing and playing instruments since she was a toddler, Kiskadee comes from a family where music runs in the blood.

Her father was a steel pan tuner and her mother an accomplished violinist from the Royal Academy of Music.

"I started to play the piano when I was about two and the steel drums when I was five," says Kiskadee.

"My parents were very musical. My mother's from Guyana, and my father was from Trinidad they started The Rainbow Steel Band. They played everywhere, the Royal Festival Hall, even Glyndebourne Opera House."

Born partially sighted, at eight months old Kiskadee had to have her right eye removed after it became infected.

She still has the use of her left, which continues to give her partial sight.

In April 2001, a nightmarish experience forced her to consider the thought of losing her vision entirely, just two months after the birth of her son, Jean-Luc.

"One morning it was just completely pitch black, it was petrifying.

"There were shadows in front of my eyes and it just got darker and darker until I was completely blind and couldn't see anything at all."

After two operations to correct a detached retina, Kiskadee endured a gruelling recovery period.

But the issue of sight does not get in the way of her music.

She is keen for people to appreciate it in its own right, despite the similarities she draws with one well-known American artist.

"My music's my music. Some people say I'm talented period. Other people just say what I do is really positive. I have been likened to Stevie Wonder, which is true, especially when I've got my hair in braids and I'm sitting at a piano.

"But I'm not doing this to be a big star or to be admired.

"The real reason is because people who have heard my music say it inspires them, some say it has brought them to tears. I want people to be inspired everywhere, not for it to just stay in a box."

When she is not working on her solo material, Kiskadee tours with her partner, Christopher, playing authentic Caribbean steel drum music.

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"Steel band takes the Caribbean to China"

The southern Chinese city of Nanning rarely throbs to the sounds of steel pans or calypso music. Most of the children there have never seen a foreign face.

Last month its inhabitants experienced a new sense of wonder when the Kiskadee steel band duo from Belmont filled the air with authentic Caribbean beats.

Jeanette Contant-Galitello, 38, the partially-sighted lead singer, was invited to perform for the China Disabled People's Performing Arts Troupe.

The troupe, which has performed in more than 30 countries since being founded 20 years ago, has now invited Kiskadee to join them for a possible UK tour.

Despite having provided the backing vocals for Michael Jackson's Hurricane Katrina charity single, Jeanette was taken aback by the honour.

She said: "Can you believe the vice-president told me they'd like me to be part of their My Dream show with my steel drum? Now that would truly be a first.

advertisement“It’d be wonderful if we could be instrumental in their bringing the show here. If it got to the West End it would be a sell out every night for at least a year, no exaggeration.”
Jeanette Contant-Galitello

"Picture this: music plays and about 60 young, deaf women become one. This person stands there until all of a sudden hundreds of arms fan out in perfect symmetry. The graceful dance continues with the most staggering beauty.

"It'd be wonderful if we could be instrumental in their bringing the show here. If it got to the West End it would be a sell out every night for at least a year, no exaggeration."

Jeanette, who had her right eye removed aged eight months, also gave a talk at the Beijing School for the Blind about her life as a visually-impaired musician.

To hear Kiskadee perform, visit

4:12pm Tuesday 20th November 2007



Jamais Vu (Releasing in 2008)

Don't Look Back (Released in 2005)

Panoramic (Released in 2003)

Christmas in London (Released in 2002)

Sorrel In The Sun (Released in 2001)

Tracks from all Kiskadee's CDs have had airplay. Her solo album 'Don't Look Back' was featured on Mainstream Radio and TV during her 6-Country Caribbean Tour in 2005 (including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Venezuela, Jamaica and Florida).



Born in England with very little eyesight, Kiskadee, a British Trinidadian, grew up in an area where she was part of a tiny West Indian minority. Her father was one of the first steel drum makers in Trinidad and her mother came to England from Guyana to study violin at the Royal Academy of Music.

Gifted with unusual musical abilities (including perfect pitch), Kiskadee learned piano and started singing at the age of two. By five, she was playing pan and singing in the family’s Steel Band - The Rainbow Steel Band. Whilst on tour throughout the UK and all over Europe, the Band performed at a number of prestigious venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Glyndebourne Opera House and the Commonwealth Institute in London. Even then, it was not unusual for Kiskadee to inspire such headlines in the press as “Young Singer Reveals Amazing Versatility!”

After gaining an Honours Degree in French and English and then working for the BBC for several years, Kiskadee entered the music industry full time as a Singer / Songwriter, Pan Player, Producer and Arranger. As a result, she soon found herself in great demand performing at a numer of major venues and events including the Millennium Dome (to a capacity crowd of 30,000), Wimbledon Centre Court, Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, the BBC, and for Heads of State.

Kiskadee's international Television and Radio appearances include Channel 4's 'Big Brother Live Reunion Party', ITV's Trisha Show, The Weakest Link, Central TV, Jamaica TV, Trinidad TV, BBC Radio 4 and 7, Choice FM, LBC Radio, Puerto Rico Radio and Dominican Republic Radio.

In 2005, Kiskadee recorded backing vocals for Michael Jackson and was part of his production team for the project.

In the same year Kiskadee featured alongside KC Porter in a tour of the Caribbean. Together with a 65 piece choir and live band, they travelled from the Dominican Republic, to Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Trinidad, Jamaica and Miami. Her songs "Gimme One World" and "Say Say" went down a storm throughout the tour, where she also launched her debut solo album 'Don't Look Back', which she co-produced with John Barnes and UK producer Andy Whitmore. The song 'Here Forever' from the album was one of the 5 finalists in the American Song Of The Year competition.

Kiskadee has also written and produced tracks for other artists, which you can hear on her music page. L.A. Producer John Barnes, who has arranged and produced for Michael Jackson for decades writes: "I experience Kiskadee as one of the most inspiring human beings I have ever met. I have worked with many great talents during the course of my career, but Kiskadee's incredible collection of talent combined with positive professionalism place her in a class of her own."

Kiskadee has recently concentrated on duets with two other exciting artists. Al Sharp, an amazing soul singer and songwriter has recorded two duets. In 2008 Kiskadee and Dave Neita formed Jamais Vu which features French and English vocals and Jamaican poetry. Damn exciting!

Kiskadee is also the founder of two exciting companies called "Ethical Music" and the other called "Minor2Major". Kiskadee is all about personalised musical greetings and songs. They can be sent to people’s mobile phones, ipods, PCs etc. Our first product is a really cool soulful Caribbean Happy Birthday song written by Kiskadee. It is the funnest and classiest Happy Birthday song around. It is available in over 100 generic versions such as Happy Birthday Mum…, Honey, Sister, Sexy Lady….) It is also available as a custom named song. We currently offer over 2000 different names and are always expanding.