Music Review | posted 24.02.2016
Various Artists
Soul Sok Séga
Strut, 2016
Text Jan Paersch , Translation Julia Frohn
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Cover Various Artists - Soul Sok Séga

The origins of this compilation reach back to the 17th century, to the times when plantation slaves were deported to the isle of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. They came from Mozambique, Zanzibar or Madagascar, carrying the sounds of their homes with them. In the middle of the 20th century, the Creole rhythms and West-African dancing styles were accompanied and influenced by Western soul, funk and jazz. With Mauritius’ independence in 1968, at the latest, Séga, which had been a local phenomenon until then, became the island’s trademark. Hence, the former live-only-music was suddenly pressed onto vinyl, only to be dug out decades later by tasteful Englishmen of the label Strut Records. They assigned a DJ duo from the neighboring island La Réunion to assemble 20 tracks – what came out is the double LP »Soul Sok Séga – Sounds from Mauritius 1973-1979«. Distorted guitars and billowing, cheap keyboard sounds meet dodgy offbeat rhythms and even obscure sub-genres like Seggae, a mix between Séga and reggae. It’s absolutely obvious why Claudio Veeeraragoo’s »Bhai Aboo« was a super hit, considering its impetuously galloping rhythms and its hip-shaking Bollywood sounds. In contrast, »Sega Lenoir« impresses us with »House of the Rising Sun«-feeling, deriving from a casually grooving organ. It takes some time getting used to the tracks – but once they’re there, it’s impossible to get them out of your head again.

You can find the compilation »Soul Sok Séga: Sounds From Mauritius 1973-1979« at hhv.de: 2LP+CD
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