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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.