Written by: Mahlatse Phasha
Contemporary music is modernist and postmodern sounds. In the African context what is contemporary can be a mixture of traditional and different genres. Like many islands in the Carribean, this Indian ocean islands such as Seychelles and Mauritius echo a reggae sound. But the islands like most nations have a lot of genres of music that can be recognized globally or be more of a local sound.
Even though European style largely influenced traditional Seychellois music. Music continues to evolve but it still leaves a mark on the music. There have been notable influences of the different forms of ‘rock and roll music’ in the music. Also, with the emergence of famous bands like The Beatles in the 60s, the music has progressed.
Here are some of the sounds coming out of Seychelles:
A unique mix of contemporary music like jazz, rock and fast beat, Zouk was initially introduced by a band called ‘Kassav’, sometime around the mid-80s. This new genre evolved when the band blended traditional music with modern instruments which attracted the youth who started liking the tunes.
Popular in dance and music at hotels and resorts, Seggae is a classic fusion of traditional Sega beats along with reggae form of music. It has gained its popularity from the late 90s. Although Seychellois music has a robust western paradigm to it, their musical journey always kept their roots intact.
There’s an obvious similarity between Seychellois music and reggae. It has been used by some artists to curate hybrid sounds with an appeal beyond the islands.
Artists in the Mauritian music scene
A talented piano player and composer, Damien Elisa entices the public with his subtle and offbeat universe. Exuding a good blend of jazz, sega and funk music, he comes forward with intimate lyrics with unique oriental and African-inspired tunes. He recorded his album Alright In 2013 which includes hits such as ‘Gris Gris’ and ‘Port-Louis’.
An amazing performer and hit-machine, Alain Ramanisum is a former member of Cassiya, out next artist. In his solo journey, the singer-songwriter-composer has produced modern and wild sega songs such as the popular ‘Li tourner’. Ramanusum earned the World’s Best Song award at the World Music Awards.
Founded in 1988, Cassiya became popular thanks to songs like ‘Séparation’ and ‘Marlène’. The saga music group were most popular in the mid-1990s. As they progressed in the music industry They formed their own record label, Cassiya Productions. Today, They still charm the audience with deeply emotional songs.
Guitarist Eric Triton brings together blues, jazz and sega to create his own matchless music style. With his unique voice and a French and Creole heritage, he sings of peace among the people in the record appropriately named ‘Unité’. It tells a story about his island in ‘Tamarin’ and defends music in ‘Aio Aio’.
Stéphano Honoré, better known as Menwar is the founder of Sagaï, a form of music. In 2006, the percussionist became known to the public and on the international scene with the release of his album Ay Ay Lolo under the French record label MARABI.