Tag Archives: Mauritius

Sega Tambour Chagos Inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

Group Sega Tambour Chagos featuring lead singer Mimose Furcy – Phot courtesy of National Heritage Fund, Mauritius, 2017

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting inscribed Mauritius’ Sega Tambour Chagos on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Sega tambour Chagos is one of the genres of sega music of Mauritius, created in the Chagos Archipelago. Like other forms of sega, it was born of slavery and is sung in Chagossian Creole.

Sega Tambour Chagos includesthe rhythmic performance of music, song and dance based on the ‘tambour’, a large, round musical instrument that is heated and then played to produce pulsating beats. The lyrics refer to everyday experiences.

Even though Chagossians have endeavored to safeguard Sega Tambour Chagos, there are numerous threats to its sustainability, including the passing away of elders, young people turning to other music genres, and dislocation leading to a loss of memory.

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The Captivating Sounds of Mauritius

Mauravann – Photo by Angel Romero

Mauravann, one of the finest roots music acts from Mauritius performed on July 14, 2019 at the Rainforest World Music Festival’s Theatre Stage. Mauritius is a multiethnic island nation located in the southwest Indian Ocean. Musical and cultural influences come from East Africa, Madagascar, India and other nearby regions.

The ensemble features the charming Linzi Backbotte, who engaged with the audience and provided a historical overview of Mauritius (including the role of slavery), its music and musical instruments, such as the ravanne and the maravann (a box rattle also known as rainmaker, made of reeds bound together). The other members are Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Desroches on guitar and vocals; Kurwin Castel on ravanne (frame drum), percussion and sound effects; and Samuel Dubois on ravanne and percussion.

Mauravann’s style is based on sega and its traditional instruments. Sega developed during the 17th century from the slaves captured from different parts of Africa and Madagascar who were taken to Mauritius. The music was an expression of their inconceivable sorrow due to their exile and displacement. Frequently played and danced around a bonfire, sega came alive through the traditional instruments.

Mauravann appeared on the concept album Small Island Big Song, released September 10, 2018.

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