Music of Seychelles - The Pillar of the Island Culture

Apart from its exquisite natural beauty, pristine beaches and luxury resorts, the tropical paradise of Seychelles is blessed with a rich cultural background. Seychelles has a history of immigrants over the years, and each batch of new immigrants has made significant contributions towards the rich heritage. Dance and music in Seychelles is an exciting amalgamation of European, African, Arabic and Chinese traditions and instruments. The use of various devices in the Seychellois music accompanied by traditional dance forms around the fire is undoubtedly a unique sight to witness.

Read on to know all about music in Seychelles!

The Origin of Seychellois Music

Source
Music of Seychelles is a cultural mosaic of different parts of the world which have had a significant influence on this African archipelago in the past. Due to its strategic position, Seychelles has sheltered masses from around the world, including the Chinese, Arabs, Europeans and African slaves. Each of these inhabitants has made their contributions to the growth and development of the island.

The Europeans enjoyed their dance forms along with their traditional music. One popular folk dance form of the Europeans was the ‘Contradane’ festive folk dance where men and women faced each other and danced, along with the music. This lively form of music and dance left an impression on the slaves. The African community then began blending their styles with these, which resulted in popular music with traditional instruments like drums and soulful melodies. Somewhere around the same time, Indian influences also combined with this, giving rise to an ethnic mix and hence the music of Seychelles was born.  

Traditional Musical Instruments of Seychelles

Source
The music industry of Seychelles has evolved over the years. Nowadays, the music of Seychelles is composed mainly by using modern instruments like guitars, violins, banjos and drums. Traditional musical tools are challenging to find in Seychelles these days. Hence, we have compiled a bunch of five instruments used decades ago.

1. Bom

This unusual instrument was unnoticed until it was popularised by Jacob Marie, a popular local veteran in Seychelles. It is a one-string solo instrument and was traditionally introduced in this island country by slaves. This ‘bowed instrument’ has been used in a lot of songs by local artists in the country. It was traditionally played on the outer parts of the island, where there was no other form of musical entertainment.

2. Zez

This one-string musical instrument has a lot of similarities with Bom. It usually comes with a gourd resonator which helps in providing a steady rhythm during the song recital. Song and lyrics associated with this type of instrument are very slow in pace and soft, and usually describes early traditional life on the island.

3. Tanbour Moutya

Tanbour Moutya is a unique musical instrument in Seychelles. These are drums made of wood and goat, or cow skin. The wooden part of the instrument is carved from a tree called 'Var' which grows on the seaside. The diameter of the drums is usually around 70-80cms. The entire device comprises of three drums were each drum makes a different sound.

4. Makalapo

Makalapo is a two feet long instrument which derives its resonance from the ground or sometimes even the human body. The base of this instrument is like a tin can, and the upper part consists of a set of strings, like a guitar, attached to a wooden pole. To get the perfect echoing sound, Makalapo is usually played in the corner and is believed to have originated from the district of Zulu and the Makhuwa tribes of Africa.

5. Mouloumba

Mouloumba is believed to have been invented by the slaves in Africa, decades ago. It is a lot like the Tanbor Moutya, that is, like a drum set. The only difference is that the drums are made from around 2.5 feet of Bamboo, instead of wood.

Different Musical Styles of Seychelles

Source
Music of Seychelles, in the earlier times mainly grew under the influence of European culture. Seychelles music also had an African touch to it, as it came along with the slaves who were brought, by the Europeans. So, here are the various classification of Seychellois music:

1. Sega

Sega is one of the most popular in the influential form of music in Seychelles and is a dominant form even now. It initially originated in Mauritius, among their African slave population and later spread to Seychelles.  Sega form of music, in its authentic style, is mostly performed using simple instruments like rattles, gourds, musical bows and hand drums. This form of music traditionally had lyrics that described the oppression, pain and the desire to be free from slavery, expressed by the African slaves. Sega is accompanied by a traditional dance performance which involves the feet, which stays firmly on the ground and the rest of the body moves.

2. Moutya

Moutya or Montea is another popular style of music, which still holds a firm grip in Seychelles. It is quite similar to Sega, but the only difference is the dance form accompanied by a Moutya performance. Unlike Sega, the dance form accompanying Moutya has distinctive movements, and the dancers do not have their feet restricted to the ground so that they can move freely. The performance begins with slow drum beats around a campfire, and the music starts intensifying with time. The drum is made from goatskin, and hence it is kept beside the bonfire so that it gets fine-tuned as it gets heated.

3. Maloya

Another style of music in Seychelles, similar to Sega is Maloya. Though the instruments used in this style of music is similar to Sega- rattles, gourds, musical bows and hand drums, the music is slower and is more reflective than Sega. It was historically a rebellious form of music; the lyrics were sung in a shout and response style, with a strong political tone.

New Musical styles in Seychelles

Source
The European style largely influenced traditional Seychellois music. Recently, European music continues to evolve as it still leaves a mark on the music in Seychelles. With the introduction of what we call the ‘Western Phenomenon’, there have been notable influences of the different forms of ‘rock and roll music’ in the music of Seychelles. Also, with the emergence of famous bands like The Beatles in the 1960s, the music of Seychelles has evolved. The two main styles of music which developed in the late 1970s are-

1. Zouk

Zouk was initially introduced by a band called ‘Kassav’, sometime around 1985. This new genre evolved when this band blended traditional music with modern instruments. What followed was a unique mix of contemporary music like jazz, rock and fast beats. The youth started liking the tunes, and even now, it is still a popular form of music in Seychelles.

2. Seggae

Seggae is a classic fusion of traditional Sega beats along with reggae form of music in Seychelles. It has gained quite some popularity since the time it was introduced in the late 90s.

Although Seychellois music has a robust western paradigm to it, the musical culture of Seychelles still maintains its individuality by the techniques and styles which suit its tradition. So, even today, their musical journey continues to evolve, but they have always kept their roots intact.

The unique combination of music and dance in Seychelles, performed by the locals can be seen at many popular hotels and resorts in Seychelles. Other than the hotels, you can also witness these unique performances at the city centre. Let your tour operator know in advance that you are willing to attend one of these cultural performances, and they will take you to see the best performance. If you are in Seychelles, trust me, the tunes of the Zez and Bom will keep you grooving throughout, so do not give it a miss!

This post was published by

Share this post on social media
Google +

Seychelles Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Related Articles

Art & Culture

Learn About Seychelles Culture, Traditions & People

Art & Culture

Language of Seychelles - Your Guide to Creole and Seychelles Language Translation

Art & Culture

Religion in Seychelles

Art & Culture

A Brief History of Seychelles

Art & Culture

History of Mahe - Seychelles Unearthed!

Travel Tips

Seychelles Weather In January

Travel Tips

Seychelles in December: All You Need to Know

Travel Tips

All About Currency Exchange In Seychelles & Seychellois Rupee

Wildlife & Nature

Wildlife in Seychelles - Fabulous Flora & Fauna of Island

Art & Culture

Language of Seychelles - Your Guide to Creole and Seychelles Language Translation

Beaches & Islands

Island Hopping In Seychelles - The Best Way To Explore 7 Idyllic Lands of Seychelles

Sightseeing

Mahe Island - Everything You Need to Know

Experiences

An Explorers Guide to Praslin Island Seychelles

Experiences

Curieuse Island and The Marine National Park in Seychelles

Beaches & Islands

Islands In Seychelles You Won't Want To Miss!

Backpacking

Islands In Seychelles You Won't Want To Miss!

Experiences

Silhouette Island - Your Guide to the Stunning Isle of Seychelles

Experiences

An Essential Guide on Aride Island, Seychelles

Casinos In Seychelles - Top 7 Gambling Zone On The African Islands

Sightseeing

Victoria : Travel Guide to The Capital City of Seychelles

Art & Culture

Religion In Seychelles

Nightlife

Seychelles Nightlife - The Quintessential Guide to 15 Top Nightlife Experiences

Wildlife & Nature

National Parks In Seychelles - Explore Nature Like Never Before

Beaches & Islands

9 Tips to Nail That Seychelles Budget Trip!

Food & Drink

Food of Seychelles - 7 Best of Traditional Seychelles Cuisine & Places to Eat

Experiences

Scuba Diving in Seychelles - 7 Best Places to Go Diving

Shopping

A Complete Guide To Shopping In Seychelles

Art & Culture

Learn About Seychelles Culture, Traditions & People

Experiences

Snorkelling In Seychelles - A Complete Guide

Experiences

Wedding in Seychelles: Top 10 Resorts To Get Married!

Travel Tips

Seychelles Visa for Indians - Tourist Visa Application & Conditions

Transport

Commuting Within Seychelles - How To Get Around The Land Of Beaches

Beaches & Islands

Best Beaches in Seychelles For Your Right Mood!

13 Best Beaches in Seychelles For Your Right Mood!

Travel Tips

Seychelles Safety & Travel Tips - Is Seychelles Safe?

Cities in Seychelles

Art & Culture

A Brief History of Seychelles

Travel Tips

Seychelles Weather in March - Where To Go & What To Do!

Beaches & Islands

Seychelles Or Bali - Sort Out Your Next Holiday Plan!

Experiences

Bel Ombre, Seychelles - A Destination Guide

Beaches & Islands

Maldives vs Seychelles: Pick Your Next Holiday Destination!

Food & Drink

Vegetarian Food in Seychelles

Beaches & Islands

Zanzibar vs Seychelles - Pick Your Next Holiday Destination

Adventure

Fly Fishing In Seychelles - Experience the Deep Blue Safari

Travel Tips

Mauritius Or Seychelles - Which To Pick For Your Next Holiday?

Travel Tips

Seychelles' Weather In August Decoded!

Travel Tips

Seychelles Weather In September: What To Expect & Where To Go

Adventure

Surfing In Seychelles - A Complete Guide

Transport

Airports in Seychelles

Adventure

Hiking in Seychelles - 17 Hiking Trails for an Unforgettable Adventure

Transport

Renting a Car In Seychelles - Your Guide To The Car Rentals in Seychelles

Travel Tips

Seychelles Weather in October

Travel Tips

Seychelles Weather In July

Romantic & Honeymoon

10 Romantic Things to Do on Your Honeymoon in Seychelles

Sightseeing

Waterfalls in Seychelles

Travel Tips

Seychelles Weather in April

Adventure

Snorkelling in Praslin Island, Seychelles

Transport

Getting Around Praslin Island - The A To Z Of Transportation In Praslin

Art & Culture

History of Mahe - Seychelles Unearthed!

Nightlife

Nightlife in Mahe - Places To Get The Party Going If You Are in Mahe

Adventure

Snorkelling in La Digue

Beaches & Islands

22 Beautiful Beaches in Mahe, Seychelles

Adventure

Snorkelling In Mahe - Best Spots To Experience The Underwater World

Beaches & Islands

10 Beaches In La Digue, Seychelles

Adventure

Scuba Diving In La Digue - A Detailed Guide

Nightlife

Nightlife In La Digue - Get The Party Started!

Beaches & Islands

10 Best Beaches In Praslin Island

Transport

Commuting Within Mahe - All About Transportation In Mahe

Adventure

Diving In Mahe - Explore A World Of Wonder!

Top Places

10 Most Beautiful Islands In The World

Food & Drink

Coco de Mer - The Sexy Coconut Of Seychelles!

Shopping

Shopping in Mahé: A Complete Guide

Top Places

The Stars Align - Here's Where You Should Travel This Year Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Comments on this post