Soul Sok Sega - Various Artists on 2LP
Sega Sounds From Mauritius 1973-1979!
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 marginalized by the Mauritian bourgeois until the 1950s when singer Ti Frère began to play a more Westernized fusion of séga. Through Ti Frère and his contemporaries like Serge Lebrasse, the music began to be popularized during the ‘60s and became fully accepted after the Night Of The Morne event in 1964 as the Créole community asserted its 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 neighboring island of La Reunion. All formats are unmixed, with all tracks never reissued internationally since they were originally available.