The traditional music of Mauritius is known as sega music, though reggae, zouk, soukous and other genres are also popular. Well-known traditional sega singers from Mauritius include Ti Frére, Marlene Ravaton, Serge Lebrasse, Michel Legris and Fanfan.
Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, 560 kilometres east of Mauritius, and the outer islands of Agaléga and St. Brandon. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues form part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Réunion, a French overseas department. The area of the country is 2,040 km2. The capital and largest city is Port Louis.
Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "Rudie Blues", then "Ska", later "Blue Beat", and "Rock Steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.
Zouk is a musical style originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and popularized by the French Antillean band Kassav' in the 1980s. Very rapid in tempo, the style lost ground in the 1980s due to the strong presence of Compas / kompa and kadans, the main music of the French Antilles. Today, zouk is the French Antilles compas (Kompa), also called zouk-love.
Musicians in Mauritius are very 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 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.
Cassiya is one of the most popular sega music groups from Mauritius founded in 1988.
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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.
India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used in Hindustani classical music. The instrument flourished under the Mughals, and it is named after a Persian instrument called the setar. The sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India. It derives its distinctive timbre and resonance from sympathetic strings, bridge design, a long hollow neck and a gourd-shaped resonance chamber. In appearance, the sitar is similar to the tanpura, except that it has frets.
The tabla is a membranophone percussion instrument originating from the Indian subcontinent, consisting of a pair of drums, used in traditional, classical, popular and folk music. It has been a particularly important instrument in Hindustani classical music since the 18th century, and remains in use in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The name tabla likely comes from tabl, the Persian and Arabic word for drum. However, the ultimate origin of the musical instrument is contested by scholars, some tracing it to West Asia, others tracing the evolution of indigenous musical instruments of the Indian subcontinent.
Rock music has recently become very popular in Mauritius, many bands have become famous, including XBreed Supersoul, Skeptikal, Kelp, and Reborn Orlean which is nearer to metal/hard rock.
A list of notable musical groups and singers from Mauritius.
Bhojpuri Boys is one of the most popular Bhojpuri musical group in Mauritius. They sang in Bhojpuri language, one of the ancestral languages of Mauritians of Indian origin. The band issued its first album Langaro in 1994.
Son Chang-il, better known by his stage name Double K, is a South Korean rapper. He was a contestant and producer on Show Me the Money. He released his first album, Positive Mind, on October 28, 2004.
Grup Latanier is a popular musical group in Mauritius. It was founded in 1979 and well known throughout the island for their committed songs. Nearly 30 years after its creation, the group is still very influential. Its authors are inspired by political unfairness, poverty, war, loathing, banes, culture, etc. They denounce through their songs these human made wrongdoings.
The music of Trinidad and Tobago is best known for its calypso music, soca music and steelpan. Calypso's internationally noted performances in the 1950s from native artists such as Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow. The art form was most popularised at that time by Harry Belafonte. Along with folk songs and African- and Indian-based classical forms, cross-cultural interactions have produced other indigenous forms of music including soca, rapso, parang, chutney, and other derivative and fusion styles. There are also local communities which practice and experiment with international classical and pop music, often fusing them with local steelpan instruments.
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.
The 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 of and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian 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.
The culture of Mauritius involves the blending of several cultures from its history, as well as individual culture arising indigenously.
Chutney music is a form indigenous to the southern Caribbean, popular in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. It is a mixture of Bhojpuri music, and local (Trinidad) music. Chutney music emerged mid-20th century and reached a peak of popularity during the 1980s. Initially lyrics were religious in nature and typically sung by females. Several sub-genres have developed.
Bihar is a state of India. The classical form of the Indian music is quite well known. Bihar has produced musicians like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan and dhrupad singers like the Malliks and the Mishras along with poets like Vidyapati Thakur who contributed to Maithili Music. The classical music in Bihar is a form of the Hindustani classical music. This article deals with the folk culture of Bihar.
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 on the island, and is usually sung in creole. Sega is also a popular music on the islands of Agalega and Rodrigues as well as Réunion and Seychelles, though the music and dances differs 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.
Seggae is a fusion genre of sega, the traditional music of the Mascarene Islands, and reggae. Seggae is one of the most popular music genres in Mauritius.
Indo-Mauritians or Indian Mauritians, are Mauritians whose ancestors are from the Indian subcontinent. They currently make up around 60% of the Mauritian population.
Mauritians are nationals or natives of the Republic of Mauritius and their descendants. Mauritius is a multiethnic society, descended from Indian, African, Chinese and European ancestry.
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. Unlike the blues, maloya was considered such a threat to the French state that in the 1970s it was banned.
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.
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.
Mauritius is a religiously diverse nation, with Hinduism being the most widely professed faith. The people of Indian descent (Indo-Mauritian) follow mostly Hinduism and Islam. The Franco-Mauritians, Creoles and Sino-Mauritians follow Christianity. A minority of Sino-Mauritians also follow Buddhism and other Chinese-related religions. According to the 2011 census made by Statistics Mauritius, Hinduism is the major religion at 48.54%, followed by Christianity at 32.71% (with Catholicism as the largest Christian denomination at 26.26 %, followed by Islam 17.30% and Buddhism 0.18% in terms of number of adherents.
The Truth and Justice Commission of Mauritius was an independent truth commission established in 2009, which explored the impact of slavery and indentured servitude in Mauritius. The Commission was tasked to investigate the dispossession of land, and “determine appropriate measures to be extended to descendants of slaves and indentured laborers.” It was “unique in that it [dealt] with socio-economic class abuses" and explored the possibility of reparations. The inclusion of reparations, whether for individuals or communities, was a controversial decision within the country which aimed to correct inequality. The Commission attempted to cover more than 370 years, the longest period of time that a truth commission has ever covered.
Hip-Hop has been around in Mauritius since it has been on International media. Each generation has their own preference in terms of Rap Artists, but all artists who have been playing on the medias since TuPac have also been aired in Mauritius.
The 1999 Mauritian riots was a national scale riot and series of protests in Mauritius following the death of the popular "seggae" musician Joseph Réginald Topize, better known by his stage name "Kaya", in police custody. The riot lasted for four days from 21 to 25 February 1999. Four civilians and one police officer were killed in the riots with hundreds of people suffering injuries. It was the first incidence of mass rioting in Mauritius since the 1968 Mauritian riots. The riots resulted in a majority of the island's police stations being sacked by protesters with 250 prisoners escaping prison. Many businesses were looted and substantial property damage was done with over 200 vehicles being set alight.