The Mauritian Way of Life: Joy and Liveliness. And it couldn’t be more precisely expressed than the traditional folklore – Sega. The Sega is a dance which originated from the habitual music of Madagascar and the mainland of Africa. It was originally sung by men and women who had been sold as slaves but whose souls had remained sensitive to music, the Sega is nowadays a folksong which has incorporated itself within the framework of their folklore!
The Sega/Seggae is usually sung in Creole language, the Local tongue of Mauritius and has preserved the uniqueness and cultural richness of the local music of Mauritius. There were a numerous different musical instruments that were used to compose the tropical rhythm of Sega. However, the original instruments are fast disappearing, making way for the more conventional orchestra ensemble. Yet, all along the coastal fishing villages, the traditional instruments such as the ‘Ravanne’, ‘Triangle’ or the ‘Maravanne’ and the traditional guitar are still being used.
The dance itself is the rhythmic swaying of the hips to the pulsating rhythm of the Ravanne. Let us take you on a vivid imagination of how this beat will get you groovin’! The man usually stands in the dancing area with hands on the hips waiting for the girl to shuffle towards him, wiggling, hip-balancing and waving a colorful handkerchief invitingly. Then the partners face each other with a waist-and-shoulder grasp and the improvisation starts. It starts with a gentle swaying, to a slow and solemn tune, which gradually rises and you find the dancers swaying with animated movements to keep pace with the ever-increasing tempo. The beat creeps inside you and as your body responds to the rhythm, you are carried to heights of ecstasy, generating a vibrating force that shakes the “lead” off your feet and inspires you to a high-spirited and free way of dancing.
Tiring perhaps, but exhilarating! Never mind if your movement does not follow the rhythm … Simply carry on dancing and you will be amazed how rhythm and movements synchronize afterwards. The Sega is a cry from the soul trying to transcend the miseries and heartaches of life, while at the same time expressing the universal human desire for joy and happiness. It tells the joys and sorrows of the peasants and the fishing folks. It is a nostalgic heritage of the villagers. Its beats, gripping in intensity, now provide entertainment to Mauritians of all walks of life in towns and villages. Today the Sega and its beat are a part of every Mauritian’s life.
If you ever come across this vivid form of expression, just let yourself go and we assure you, You will have felt immense peace with yourself!
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