Music of Mauritius

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A woman performs the sega in Pointe-aux-Piments, Mauritius Sega.drumdancer.jpg
A woman performs the sega in Pointe-aux-Piments, Mauritius

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.

Contents

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.

Sega

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.

Asian music in Mauritius

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 in Mauritius

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.

Musical groups and singers

A list of notable musical groups and singers from Mauritius.

Groups

Singers


See also

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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.

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Ravanne

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.

Kaya (Mauritian musician) Musical artist

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.

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