Mauritius is known for its immaculate white sand beaches and its azure lagoons… but did you know that this little treasure in the middle of the Indian Ocean is home to a cornucopia of über talented artists? Their unique charm and creativity have pushed some of their voices far beyond local soundwaves. To spare you hours of Wikipedia searches, here’s the Top 7 of the island’s very best talent, recommended by our Sports and Leisure teams. Plug your earphones in, unwind on a sun lounger and live Mauritius… the Mauritian way!
Stephane Hau, Head of Sports & Leisure at Veranda Grand-Baie, recommends Negro Pou Lavi (NPLV). Their success is due to the wondrous talent of the band’s two leaders Lin and Soul T and their songs’ powerful messages. In 1997, NPLV released their first album Maléré, which speaks of the suffering of ghetto residents. Boom Xplosion in 2001 shot the quartet to the front of the local scene and into international ears. Stephane also enjoys Alain Ramanisum’s music. Ramanisum’s an extremely popular artist who, according to Stephane, “knew how to bring local music to the international stage.” After all, who hasn’t danced to the legendary Li Tourné?! Alain Ramanisum was a member of Cassiya before embarking on a solo career.
Kaya was a king to many Mauritians. This local legend with incredible uniting powers created a musical genre where reggae and sega meet at a crossroads, a blend called seggae. “When I was young,” says Dany Fanfan, Head of Sports & Leisure at Veranda Paul et Virginie, “I went to all his concerts. His songs speak of us, our culture, our way of thinking. We recognise ourselves in his words.” Born Joseph Reginald Topize in 1980, in Roche Bois – a poor suburb of Port Louis – Kaya started working at eight years old to support his family. His passion for music gave him wings, and his group Racinetatane, comprising friends from the neighbourhood, became an iconic fixture in Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean. In 1986, Kaya chose to distance himself from his international idols – Bob Marley and Jamaican culture, for one – in order to forge his identity in Mauritian soil through seggae. Dany also recommends Orizinal Blakkayo, a leading musician on the local scene. Blakkayo and his Otentikk Street Brothers (OSB CREW) create politically-engaged pieces that denounce social injustice and fight for the due recognition and proper valorisation of Mauritian Kreol.
Augustin Jenito, the Acting Sport & Leisure Sup at Veranda Pointe aux Biches, is completely won over by Cassiya and their charismatic leader, Désiré François. The latter hails from the capital’s suburb, Cassis, and began composing music in the 1980s to the beat of the guitar and ravanne. After meeting Gérard Louis and Alain Ramanisum, Cassiya was born in 1992. Ambassadors of Mauritian sega music bursting with life, the group made their mark in Reunion in 1994 and produced ten insanely successful albums, which were devoured by local ears and international fans. Désiré François later went solo and orchestrated a remarkable comeback in 2015 with his hit Di pain griyé (what a great name!)
What of Mauritius’ blossoming new wave? Desiré Monique, Head of Sports & Leisure at Veranda Palmar Beach, suggests that you listen to two icons of the new generation: Jason Heerah and The Prophecy. Jason grew to fame after his song Chasing Love went viral. His album of the same name was recorded in Melbourne and the tune moved many with its powerful message (and the music video was amazing, too). The Prophecy are firmly rooted in Mauritius: their sega and seggae rhythms lie at the heart of their albums released in 2015 and 2018.
1. Li Tourné by Alain Ramanisum
2. Chant l’Amour by Kaya
3. Rev nou Ancetres by Cassiya
4. Laparans by Orizinal Blakkayo
5. Boom Xplosion by Negro Pou Lavi
6. Nou Pou Sirmonte by The Prophecy
7. Chasing Love by Jason Heerah
*‘Mauritius’ in Mauritian Kreol
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