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The Hits From Mauritius’ 1970s Séga Music Scene, Compiled In A New Release

Strut Records looks at the pinnacle of séga music in the island nation of Mauritius, featuring one of its biggest stars Claudio Veeraragoo.

Soul Sok Séga compilation cover.


Claudio Veeraragoo was one of the biggest stars in Mauritius’ séga music boom of the 1960s and 1970s. He struck gold when he mixed the traditional sounds of Mauritian séga—which was forged out of a blend of creole riddles (“sirandanes”), percussion from the ravanne goat skin drum, triangle and maravanne—with South Asian qawwali and Bollywood styles.

Veeraragoo left his mark on Mauritius and the globe with séga hits like 1966 “Nou Manz Nou Larak,” his breakthrough cassette single “Bhaï Aboo” and, later, “Bonom Chinois.” His songs were covered by French star Maxime Leforestier and Bollywood singer Shaan, and he still continues to draw huge crowds today.

Two of his hits are featured in Soul Sok Séga, an extensive 20-track compilation from Strut Records that takes a look at the pinnacle of séga music in Mauritius from 1973 to 1979.

Soul Sok Séga is compiled by DJs La Basse Tropicale and includes lengthy sleeve notes from Mauritian artistic director and producer Percy Yip Tong. It also features tracks from séga artists Ti L’Afrique, Michel Legris, John Kenneth Nelson, Jean-Claude Gaspard, Coulouce and more.

Hear our premiere of Claudio Veeraragoo’s “Bonom Chinois” below and order the album here.

Soul Sok Séga Tracklist

1. TI L’AFRIQUE – SOUL SOCK SÉGA

2. JEAN-CLAUDE – MADEMOISELLE

3. GEORGIE JOE – ELIZA

4. JOHN KENNETH NELSON – MANUEL BITOR

5. MARIE JOSÉE & ROGER CLENCY – LA VIE EN BADINAGE

6. CLAUDIO – BONOM CHINOIS

7. LES STARDUST – SÉGA LENOIR

8. COULOUCE – L’AMOUR ARTIFICIEL (SOUL SÉGA)

9. CLAUDIO – BHAÏ ABOO

10. CHRISTOPHE – MO PARRAIN

11. CYRIL LABONNE – POP SOUL SÉGA

12. HAROLD BERTY – MONE LASSER DIRE TOI

13. MICHEL LEGRIS - ELIDA

14. CATHERINE VELIENNE – MO MARI FINI ALLÉ

15. JEAN-CLAUDE – SÉGA SOUVAL

16. RAMONE – NOUVEAU VENU DANS L’ENDROIT

17. JOHN KENNETH NELSON – Z’ENFANT MISÈRE

18. GEORGES JEAN LOUIS – AFRO MAURICIEN

19. YOYO – COCO MAMZELLE

20. CHRISTIAN TOSSÉ – MADAME ZEAN

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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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