The traditional music of Mauritius is known as sega music, though reggae, zouk, soukous and other genres are also popular, but the latter genres do not originate from Mauritius, despite famous local singers such as Kaya, who successfully combined Sega Music Reggae Music to create Mauritian Seggae. Well-known traditional sega singers from Mauritius include Ti Frére, Marlene Ravaton, Serge Lebrasse, Michel Legris and Fanfan.
Musicians in Mauritius are quite talented and through the years Mauritian music has evolved to international standards. There are many jazz and blues artists around the island.
Sega, seggae and reggae remain the most popular produced music in Mauritius amongst Mauritian artists. Thanks to a decent Internet connection nowadays we see more evolved artists performing R&B, hip hop, soul, dubstep, club, techno and other worldwide known music.
The Sega is usually sung in Creole (mother tongue of Mauritians). Many singers had thought of also bringing forward the English version of the Sega songs but later resolved not to proceed with it so as to preserve the uniqueness and cultural richness of the local music of Mauritius.
The original instruments are fast disappearing, making way for the more conventional orchestra ensemble. However, all along the coastal fishing villages, the traditional instruments such as the “Ravanne”, “Triangle”, the “Maravanne” and the traditional guitar are still being used.
By 2015, some of the most known Mauritian sega artists were - Alain Ramanisum, Desiré Francois, Ziakazom. Other top known Mauritian artists are Kaka Zulu and The Prophecy.
The sega is one of the most popular form of music and dance of Mauritius. The traditional instrumentation includes the ravann, a goat-skin covered drum, the triangle, and the maravann.
It is not clear when sega originated. Most claim that sega music and dance origins are found in the slavery epoch, but research has not established this as a fact. Nowadays, Mauritians sing sega as a form of self-expression. Rural forms of music include Mauritian bhojpuri songs, kawals, that date from the epoch of indentured labour and remained popular in Mauritian villages but are now fast disappearing.
There have been many groups that have been formed that fuse these two as well as others that have a deeper connection to the roots of each genre. Cassiya is an example of a group that has become popular not only in Mauritius but also in the neighboring islands such as Reunion. Their single "Mo fami Peser" gives us an idea of how life has evolved for the black indentured laborer post-slavery. It tells about how life as a fisherman becomes more difficult as the seas become more polluted and even though they tried to find a normal city job, they still prefer peaceful life of a fisherman. It remains one of their most successful and loved singles.
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Indian immigrants have brought many of their own styles of music and dance, along with instruments like the sitar and tabla. Mauritian-based Bhojpuri music has always been popular with people of Indian-descent, but is now gaining mainstream appeal through the work of artists such as The Bhojpuri Boys and Neeraj Gupta Mudhoo. Their fusion of bhojpuri lyrics, sega beats, and more traditional Indian, as well as Bollywood-style, music has won the hearts of many Mauritians and given rise to major hits such as "Langaroo" (by The Bhojpuri Boys). Chinese immigrants have also infused Mauritian culture with elements from distinctly Chinese musical traditions.
Rock music has recently become very popular in Mauritius, many bands have become famous, including XBreed Supersoul, Feedback, Skeptikal, Kelp, Reborn Orlean which is nearer to metal/hard rock. In 2018, with the advent of the Underground Rock Festival initiative, many other bands such as Apostrophe, Devived, Revolt and King of None have started to get mainstream recognition.
A list of notable musical groups and singers from Mauritius.
The music of Spain has a long history. It has played an important role in the development of Western music, and has greatly influenced Latin American music. Spanish music is often associated with traditional styles such as flamenco and classical guitar. While these forms of music are common, there are many different traditional musical and dance styles across the regions. For example, music from the north-west regions is heavily reliant on bagpipes, the jota is widespread in the centre and north of the country, and flamenco originated in the south. Spanish music played a notable part in the early developments of western classical music, from the 15th through the early 17th century. The breadth of musical innovation can be seen in composers like Tomás Luis de Victoria, styles like the zarzuela of Spanish opera, the ballet of Manuel de Falla, and the classical guitar music of Francisco Tárrega. Nowadays commercial pop music dominates.
The music of Colombia is an expression of Colombian culture, music genres, both traditional and modern, according with the features of each geographic region, although it is not uncommon to find different musical styles in the same region. The diversity in musical expressions found in Colombia can be seen as the result of a mixture of Amerindian, African, and European influences, as well as more modern American.
The music of Afghanistan comprises many varieties of classical music, folk music, and modern popular music. Afghanistan has a rich musical heritage and features a mix of Persian melodies, Indian compositional principles, and sounds from ethnic groups such as the Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras. Instruments used range from Indian tablas to long-necked lutes. Afghanistan's classical music is closely related to Hindustani classical music while sourcing much of its lyrics directly from classical Persian poetry such as Mawlana Balkhi (Rumi) and the Iranian tradition indigenous to central Asia. Lyrics throughout most of Afghanistan are typically in Dari (Persian) and Pashto. The multi-ethnic city of Kabul has long been the regional cultural capital, but outsiders have tended to focus on the city of Herat, which is home to traditions more closely related to Iranian music than in the rest of the country.
Traditional Vietnamese music encompasses a large umbrella of Vietnamese music from antiquity to present times, and can also encompass multiple groups, such as those from Vietnam's ethnic minority tribes. Throughout its history, Vietnam has been most heavily influenced by traditional Chinese music, along with Korea, Mongolia and Japan.
Panama is a Central American country, inhabited mostly by mestizos. The music of Panama is heavily based on the folk music of Spain, particularly that of Andalusia and was influenced first by the indigenous populations of Kunas, Teribes, Ngobe Bugle and others, and then by the black population who were brought over, first as slaves from Africa, between the 16th century and the 19th century, and then voluntarily to work on the Panamanian Railroad and Canal projects between the 1840s and 1914.
Portuguese music includes many different styles and genres, as a result of its history. These can be broadly divided into classical music, traditional/folk music and popular music and all of them have produced internationally successful acts, with the country seeing a recent expansion in musical styles, especially in popular music.
Seychelles, which is an independent island chain in the Indian Ocean, has a distinct kind of music. Folk music incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including English contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, zouk, soukous moutya and other pan-African genres, as well as Polynesian and Indian music. A complex form of percussion music called Kanmtole is popular, along with combinations of Sega and Reggae called Seggae and combinations of Moutya and Reggae called Mouggae, as is Montea, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga developed by Patrick Victor. Jean Marc Volcy is another famous Seychellois musician who has brought a modern touch to traditional music. He has several albums including Sove Lavi.
Chutney music is a fusion genre of Indian folk music, specifically Bhojpuri folk music, with local Caribbean calypso and soca music, and later on Bollywood music. This genre of music that developed in Trinidad and Tobago is popular in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. Chutney music emerged mid-20th century and reached a peak of popularity during the 1980s. Several sub-genres have developed.
Sega is one of the major music genres of Mauritius, the others being its fusion genre Seggae and Bhojpuri songs. It has origins in the music of slaves as well as their descendants Mauritian Creole people and is usually sung in creole. Sega is also popular on the islands of Agaléga and Rodrigues as well as Réunion and Seychelles, though the music and dances differ and it is sung in these islands' respective creole languages. In the past, the Sega music was made only with traditional instruments like ravanne and triangle, it was sung to protest against injustices in the Mauritian society, this particular version of the Sega is known as Santé engagé. Three types of Sega have been included in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage lists.
Seggae is a fusion genre of sega, the traditional music of the Mascarene Islands, and reggae. It was originally created in Mauritius by Kaya and eventually became popular in Mascarene Islands. Seggae is one of the most popular music genres in Mauritius.
Indo-Mauritians or Indian Mauritians are Mauritians who trace their ethnic ancestry to India.
Mauritian Creoles are the people on the island of Mauritius and in the wider overseas Mauritian diaspora who trace their roots to Black African slaves. It also refers to members of the island's Mulatto community. In government records, they all form part of the group known as Population Générale.
Maloya is one of the two major music genres of Réunion, usually sung in Réunion Creole, and traditionally accompanied by percussion and a musical bow. Maloya is a new form that has origins in the music of African and Malagasy slaves and Indian indentured workers on the island, as has the other folk music of Réunion, séga. World music journalists and non-specialist scholars sometimes compare maloya to the American music, the blues, though they have little in common. Maloya was considered such a threat to the French state that it was banned in the 1970s.
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
Santé engagé is a genre of Mauritian music which consists of singing protest songs. It is a way to protest against political/social oppression and repression through music. The genre mixes traditional Mauritian sega with Indian and Western influences.
Stéphano Honoré, better known as Menwar, is a Mauritian percussionist and singer. He was one of the pioneers of Seggae music, forming the group Sagaï in the 1980s. Honoré is a player of the ravanne, for which he has begun to develop a written technique, something that has not been done previously. He also plays multiple instruments that he has selfmade or that come from the African culture.
The ravanne is a large tambourine-like instrument used in sega music of Mauritius. It is made out of goat skin called “lapo cabri” which usually needs to be heated up before playing. The ravanne is used as the main rhythm in sega music and has been played by the great contributors of the Sega (genre). One of the main contribution for the ravanne is a book written in 1999 called “Méthode de ravanne”: Ways of playing the "ravanne", traditional music instrument by Menwar Throughout the time the traditional ravanne has evolved to more modern ravanne types using different materials and manufacturing techniques. It is commonly used for entertainment mainly in the tourist industry and common family gatherings all around the island.
Joseph Réginald Topize professionally known by his stage name Kaya was a Mauritian musician and the creator of "seggae", a fusion of Mauritian sega and reggae; two popular music genres in Mauritius. Kaya died while in police custody ; he was arrested for smoking Marijuana during one of his concerts.
Baithak Gana is a form of music originating in Suriname by the Indian community. Baithak is a social gathering. It is a mix of Bhojpuri folk songs with other Caribbean influences. It is similar to Chutney music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. The most popular exponent in Surinam of the genre were Ramdew Chaitoe and Dropati.
Nowadays, no one could still claim his pure race status. Ethnic, social and linguistic differences become each day more and more present and marked all over the world. Time, history and continuous population intermingling across boundaries led to create cosmopolitan beings, that is to say world citizens who, in spite of their singularity, manage to bring themselves together in order to create a unique and single nation. Among the nations most affected by this cross-fertilization is notably found Mauritius. The social and linguistic diversity of this country makes it unique and contribute to its wealth. It arouses curiosity, urges us to deepen our knowledge on the subject and is, to this extent, worth being studied.