Frankie Francis and Hugo Mendes of Sofrito are connoisseurs of vintage tropical dance sounds. The Mauritian séga genre explored on our Soul Sok Sega is a perfect match for their dusty, sun-drenched aesthetic, so we were thrilled when Francis, who also runs the vinyl dubplate and mastering facility The Carvery, offered to create a custom edit of one of our favorite tracks from the collection. His floor-friendly cut of Claudio’s “Bonom Chinois” is available for free download via our Bandcamp. Soul Sok Sega is available now on 2LP, CD & digital formats.
Outside of a small set of savvy listeners and Mauritian locals, traditional sega music (sometimes called “the blues of the Indian Ocean”) is a relatively new discovery. Our Soul Sok Sega collection provides an overview of one of the peak creative eras for the music in the 1970s. For further context, producer Percy Yip Tong and musician Menwar have graciously run through a brief history of the music as well as the instruments and rhythms that make up the foundation of the style. Menwar also performs an exclusive acoustic version of his ’70s rarity ‘Sega Lenoir’ recorded as Les Stardust.
Soul Sok Sega is available now on CD, 2xLP, & digital formats.
Claudio Veeraragoo is one of the biggest stars of séga music of the 60s and 70s. His stroke of genius was to marry séga rhythms with qawwali and Bollywood styles. He scored his debut hit, ‘Nou Manz Nou Larak’, in 1966, playing the accordion, and broke through as a major star with his cassette release, ‘Bhaï Aboo’ which exploded across the island upon its release. His songs were subsequently covered by French star Maxime Leforestier and Bollywood singer Shaan. Claudio has since brought séga to the four corners of the globe and, of all of the ‘70s artists, has remained one of Mauritius’ biggest live draws. Today, his son Michael, a drummer and producer, manages his father’s activities via their own production house, Kabana Music.
“Bonom Chinois” is a gem from the Soul Sok Sega compilation, whic documents the heyday of séga music in Mauritius between 1973 and 1979. The album is compiled by La Reunion-based DJs La Basse Tropicale with extensive sleeve notes by Mauritian cultural authority, Percy Yip Tong. Soul Sok Sega is released 22nd January 2016.
Séga is the traditional music of Mauritius (a small island off the coast of Madagascar) and is known as the “blues” of the Indian Ocean. The music was born during the 17th to 19th centuries by African slaves seeking relief from harsh conditions in sugar cane fields and on colonial land by dancing to improvised music incorporating rhythms from their homelands in West Africa, Mozambique, Zanzibar or Madagascar. From these diverse African influences sprang a new, insular dance and music, the séga.
Though initially looked down upon, by the mid-1960s séga music had become a symbol of national pride and identity for Mauritius. With the advent of electric instruments, the influx of funk, soul and jazz from the West and the growth of LPs, séga went commercial. Dancefloors started grooving to a more soulful, funky séga beat and séga artists popped up all over the island with a new generation of charismatic singers becoming national stars. Séga, sung in Créole, now united all the communities of the island. Mauritians from the European, African, Indian and Chinese communities, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, all danced and enjoyed séga.
Following excursions into rare tropical and island sounds with the Sofrito series, and the Haiti Direct and Calypsoul 70 albums, we’re proud to present a collection exploring the incredible séga sounds that emerged from Mauritius during the 1970s, Soul Sok Séga, compiled by DJ duo La Basse Tropicale (Natty Hô and Konsöle), based in the neighbouring island of La Reunion.
Soul Sok Sega (out 22nd of January 2016) features extensive sleeve notes from long time Mauritian cultural champion, Percy Yip Tong, including new artist interviews, photos and original vinyl artwork. All formats (1CD / 2LP / digital) are unmixed, made up completely of tracks that have never been re-issued internationally.
Pre-orders are available now, and a preview track (“Sega Lenoir,” by Les Stardust) is streaming below.
- TI L’AFRIQUE – SOUL SOCK SÉGA
- JEAN-CLAUDE – MADEMOISELLE
- GEORGIE JOE – ELIZA
- JOHN KENNETH NELSON – MANUEL BITOR
- MARIE JOSÉE & ROGER CLENCY – LA VIE EN BADINAGE
- CLAUDIO – BONOM CHINOIS
- LES STARDUST – SÉGA LENOIR
- COULOUCE – L’AMOUR ARTIFICIEL (SOUL SÉGA)
- CLAUDIO – BHAÏ ABOO
- CHRISTOPHE – MO PARRAIN
- CYRIL LABONNE – POP SOUL SÉGA
- HAROLD BERTY – MONE LASSER DIRE TOI
- MICHEL LEGRIS – ELIDA
- CATHERINE VELIENNE – MO MARI FINI ALLÉ
- JEAN-CLAUDE – SÉGA SOUVAL
- RAMONE – NOUVEAU VENU DANS L’ENDROIT
- JOHN KENNETH NELSON – Z’ENFANT MISÈRE
- GEORGES JEAN LOUIS – AFRO MAURICIEN
- YOYO – COCO MAMZELLE
- CHRISTIAN TOSSÉ – MADAME ZEAN