Infusions: Mo Kolours mixes the percussive roots of Mauritian sega: ‘The Spirit of the Ravanne’

Mo Kolours – alongside his brothers Reginal Omas Mamode IV and Jeen Bassa – are proud of their Creole Mauritian lineage. Through solo and collaborative releases on 22a and Five Easy Pieces they have channeled its musical traditions into a percussive synthesis of hip-hop, dub and soul that feels as distinctively London as it does Pacific Island. While Mo’s heritage has always been present in the music he makes, he rarely addresses it so explicitly as he has in this Infusions mix. The theme he’s chosen focusses on the ravanne, a drum that forms the basis of the sega rhythm, a sound synonymous with Creole population of Mauritius. Listen to the mix below, while Mo expands on his chosen theme and explains a bit more about the music of Mauritius.

Mo Kolours – Inner Symbols is out now on Five Easy Pieces – buy from Bandcamp.

Can you tell us a bit about your Infusions theme? 

When I was in Mauritius recently, I met with a sega group called Les pri Ravanne (The Spirit of the Ravanne). This name inspired the mix and guided my choice. The Mauritian Ravanne is a fundamental part of the Sega, and is THE drum of the music. It is a frame drum, which creates a particular sound. Les pri Ravanne play a kind of roots sega style, with bigger drums of all African traditions, in their track ‘Madame Baya’.  Sega comes from the Creole population that incorporated their mixed African rhythms and heritage. The Spirit of the Ravanne IS that mix of rhythms and peoples. I focused on the roots of sega through the drum (although not wholly) when choosing. To me, this selection shows the diversity of drum and rhythm in sega.

What does this music mean to you and why is it significant to you as a DJ and music lover?

I’m lucky to have a tradition among my people. It is in my blood and has influenced who I am as a person. Mauritius is very a smal, and, until fairly recently, quite cut off.  Creoles are a small group within a small island, which means all of us have the sega in our blood. As a music lover, the beat in sega is very unique. The timing is unusual and it makes for great a listen. As a DJ it allows me to play my heritage to the listener, provoking the ear of a music lover, and satisfying the hunter of rare island sounds. 

Tell us an interesting fact about the music of Mauritius you think we won’t know. 

Mauritian Artist ‘Kaya’ was a Rasta, Creole musician that fused sega and reggae to create a sound coined seggae.

Did you compile the mix with an idea in mind? 

To focus on the roots of sega, the raw drum led rhythm and to show the diversity in roots sega.

Any standouts from the mix you’d like to give special mention too?

The funked out ‘La Riviere Taniers’ by the late Gerard Bergicourt (King Creole Presley) is a flip in the mix, in the middle of drum led raw sega. Shedding light on the talent on the island over the decades, Bergicourt’s soul track would be at home in most collectors’ boxes. Kaya (mentioned above) is famous for his reggae style sega, but featured in the mix are a couple of lesser exposed Afro feel tracks from him. Other mentions are a group I saw live of the name Bwa Maron (Brother Maroon), Menwar (My Black) the vanguard of modern sega today, and a legend that didn’t make it on the mix by the name of Ti’ frere (Little Brother) the godfather of sega! I have to thank Avneesh from Electrocaine in Pheonix, Mauritius for hooking me up good copies of a lot of this selection! 

You’ve got a fresh album out called Inner Symbols. How have you used the music of Mauritius and, more specifically, the ravenne throughout? 

The unique lilt in the rhythm of sega always has an influence on my beat patterns. That rhythm comes from the way the ravanne is played. Sega is always in my music somehow.

Anything else on the horizon you’re excited about in 2018

Plenty of new music, new people, and new vibes.

Tracklist

1. Zenfan Ti Rivierez – Charani (Maria L’esperance)
2. L’appel (Instrumental), Sega Ravanne Mauricien Zenfan Ti Riviere
3. Ton Georges – Ki Ti Le
4. Menwar – Wayowaya
5. Chant Chogossien
6. Menwar – Trin La , An Pann
7. Tek Nanaru
8. G.Bergicourt – La Riviere Taniers
9. Kaya -Race Kouyon
10. Kaya – Allelujah
11. Kaya – Racine Pe Brile
12. Les pri ravanne – Madame Baya
13. Bwa Maron – untitled
14. Menwar – Melodi la mer

Mo Kolours – Inner Symbols is out now on Five Easy Pieces – buy from Bandcamp.

Comments are closed.