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Sega music or Séga is the traditional Music of the Mascarene Islandsmarker:Mauritius, the Seychelles and Réunion.

It is an evolved combination of African music with European dance music like polka and quadrilles. Sega is especially similar to the Réunionnais folk dance maloya. Another form of dance similar to the sega is the Seychellois moutya. In its modern form, sega is also combined with genres like soukous, zouk and reggae.

The Sega music originates in Réunionmarker, followed by Mauritiusmarker and then the Seychellesmarker; later the theme spread quickly through the Indian Oceanmarker.


Traditional instruments include:
There is also the tantam which a stringed instrument consisting of a gourd with a bow attached played in time to the drum. Nowadays, electric guitars and keyboard are used.

The music's traditional form was largely improvised and intensely emotional and expressed the tribulations of a subjugated, initially enslaved, people.

It was also used as a dirge and as part of traditional exorcisms.

Sega is danced without the feet ever leaving the ground. Instead, the rest of the body moves.


Sega evolved out of the culture of the Mascarene islands in the mid-18th century. Sega's exact origins outside the islands are unknown. However, it is understood to have Afro-Malagasy roots and be a fusion of African and European music. Gatan Benoit suggested that sega came from Madagascarmarker and Boswell notes there may be a link between sega and famadihana, a Merina death ritual. Arago instead identifies it with (t)chéga from Mozambiquemarker. He says it is like the fandango and chica from Brazilmarker whose origins are in African music from Mozambiquemarker and Angolamarker. It was termed "African" by sega musician Jacques Cantin.

Sega was for long looked down upon because it was the music of slaves.

It was also looked down upon by the Catholic Church, which was not keen on its association with sexuality and alcohol.

Until the Mauritian Ti Frère became popular in the 1960's, sega was only played in private places, particularly his performance at the Night of the Sega at Mount Le Mornemarker on 30 October 1964. It is now considered the national music of Mauritius and not restricted by ethnicity.

Elements of African music have been added to sega since the 1980's.


Segastronics was a variety common in Mauritius in the 1970's; this was typically sega performed to heavy rock-like music. In modern times, however, this style is no longer played and replaced by Seggae.

Modern varieties

Sega is now popular across the islands of Mauritiusmarker, Réunionmarker, Seychellesmarker, Comorosmarker, Mayottemarker and Rodriguesmarker, along with parts of Madagascarmarker.

Santé engagé


Seggae is a fusion of sega with reggae, a kind of Jamaican popular music that is very popular across sega's range. Seggae musicians include Ras Natty Baby, Sonny Morgan and the man seen as being the founder, Kaya. Kaya, whose real name is Joseph Reginald Topize, was at the height of his career in 1999 when he was found dead in a prison cell. Riots followed soon after causing one of the major social upheavals in Mauritius. Kaya's music is, however, still very well alive and popular and has inspired contemporary musicians to expand the Seggae genre.

Regional varieties

In Reunion, sega is relatively slow, and is danced by couples who are not as physically close as on Mauritius. The traditional form is called maloya. Mauritian traditional sega is sega ravanne and has a more accentuated beat than Reunionnais sega. Traditional Rodriguan sega is sega tambour, where the drum is more prominent The accordion groups of rodrigues, segakordeon, include European folk dance music such as polkas, quadrilles, waltzes and Scottish reels. Rodriguese music is extremely swift compared to other varieties. These sega tambours is sung mostly by women, and is danced only by one couple at a time, accompanied by clapping or the use of improvised percussion instruments like table legs and glasses. Seychellois sega is moutya, and is similar to Réunionnaise sega. Seychellois music is influenced by Western ballads, and especially country music. The Chagos Islanders also had their own variety of sega before they were deported from the islands to make way for the American military base Diego Garciamarker.

See also


External links

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