Music of Mauritius
The music of Mauritius is known for sega music, alongside the nearby Réunion island, 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.
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.
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.
The past fifty years have been a vibrant period of sega music, much of which has not been documented. In the past twenty years, Mauritian music has been revitalized by a fusion of reggae and sega, known as seggae. This new wave emerged from one of poorer suburbs of Port Louis, known as Roche Bois, with the musician Kaya (Joseph Reginald Topize) and his group Racinetatane as the first major proponent. It gained much popularity among Rastafarians and then more widely among the youths of Mauritius in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Kaya died in murky, and still unexplained, circumstances while in police custody in 1999. He was detained at the time for allegedly smoking a joint at a (pro-marijuana) public rally organised by an aspiring politician. Kaya's death sparked a three-day riot, that started with a revolt against police brutality when Kaya was discovered dead in high-security police cells with over 30 marks of violence on his body. The riots ended with a shift towards communal conflict that threatened the social fabric of Mauritius. During the riots, another talented seggae musician, Berger Agathe, was shot and killed by the police, then by dealing a double-blow to the Mauritian music scene within a few days. Despite all this, seggae music survives as one of Kaya's legacy and is often viewed as a voice exposing the angst and hopes of many of the poorest Mauritians.
Asian music in Mauritius
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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) and, more recently, Dragostea Din Te. 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, Skeptikal, and Reborn Orlean which is nearer to metal/hard rock.
Musical group and Singers
A list of notable musical groups and singers from Mauritius.
- Sega music
- Santé engagé
- Category:Mauritian singers
- Category:Mauritian musicians
- Category:Mauritian musical instruments
- Ewens, Graeme and Werner Graebner. "A Lightness of Touch". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 505–508. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0