Various Artists Soul Sok Sega

Various Artists Soul Sok Sega
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Venerable label Strut continues its unearthing of unheralded sounds from the tropical belt with Soul Sok Sega. Referred to as the "blues" of the Indian Ocean, Sega is the traditional music of the island of Mauritius that evolved from the West African rhythms brought to the island during the 17th-19th century slave trade and sung in Creole. Covering the music's peak during the 1970s, this compilation is a comprehensive introduction to Sega's uniquely hypnotic groove, as distinguished by the ravanne drum made from goat skin and strung over a large wooden frame.
 
Ti L'Afrique's "Soul Sock Sega" and Maria Josee & Roger Clency's "La Vie En Badinage" are potent examples of Seka's vibe ¾ a serpentine groove guaranteed to seduce you onto the dance floor. Yet it's nuggets like Claudio's "Bhai Aboo," which marries Sega with Bollywood and Michel Legris's soulful and psychedelic funk-influenced "Elida," that are standouts, documenting the style's maturation and absorption into Mauritius's multi-ethnic make-up and demonstrating western musical influence. It all culminates with Coulouce's ultra-cool and erotic hip-swaying "L'Amour Artificiel."
 
Add some generous liner notes featuring interviews with the artists, and Soul Sok Sega is another fine compilation from the folks at Strut. (Strut)