||Following successful excursions into rare tropical and island sounds with the ‘Sofrito’
series, ‘Haiti Direct’ and ‘Calypsoul 70’ albums, Strut Records turns its focus to the
Indian Ocean island of Mauritius for a new compilation, ‘Soul Sok Séga’.
Séga first developed as an insular music and dance form after slaves arrived on
Mauritius (then île de France) from East Africa and Madagascar during the 17th
to 19th centuries, using Créole language and rhythms played on the large ravanne
circular drum, the triangle and the maravanne, a box filled with dried seeds.
Séga was essentially frowned upon and marginalised by the Mauritian bourgeois
until the 1950s when singer Ti Frère began to play a more Westernised fusion of
séga. Through Ti Frère and his contemporaries like Serge Lebrasse, the music began
to be popularised during the ‘60s and became fully accepted after the ‘Night Of The
Morne’ event in 1964 as the Créole community asserted ist cultural identity.
‘Soul Sok Séga’ documents the heyday of séga in Mauritius during the 1970s as a new
generation of contemporary artists broke through. Jazz, soul, funk and rock elements
all began to be effortlessly infused into traditional séga folk roots to create some
inspired fusions. A talented new wave of artists including Jean- Claude, Claudio,
Marie Josée and Roger Clency became domestic stars and began to take the music
to international stages for the first time. Meanwhile, cult artists like the James
Brown-influenced Ti L’Afrique, Coulouce and Christophe all enjoyed a more brief
but important moment in the spotlight.
Since this era, séga has now been adopted as the national music of Mauritius and
the original ‘70s music is a revelation for any fans of tropical music and world
sounds. Strut’s album features extensive sleeve notes from long time Mauritian
cultural champion, Percy Yip Tong, including new artist interviews, photos and
original vinyl artwork. The compilation is by DJ duo La Basse Tropicale (Natty Hô
and Konsöle), based in the neighbouring island of La Reunion. All formats (1CD /
2LP / digital) are unmixed, with all tracks never reissued internationally since they
were originally available. An accompanying European tour featuring Ti L’Afrique,
Jean Claude and Claudio with an all-star band of original musicians is planned for