The Sixth Annual Festival International Kreol took place in Mauritius December 8th through 10th, 2011. Celebrations of music and dance, activities designed for children and an important conference examining the future vision of Mauritian Creoles comprised the weekend festival.
The island of Mauritius recently celebrated its diverse Creole culture with its sixth annual Festival International Kreol, which took place December 8th through 10th, 2011.
Organized by the Government of Mauritius along with the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure and partners, this Rs 9 million Mauritian festival, themed “Creole Culture, Our Pride,” drew large crowds and a great deal of interest. An estimated 100,000 people attended the Gran Konzer alone!
Four major events took place over the long festival weekend. Playful activities were offered for children, giving them the opportunity to explore and engage in traditional Creole games of yesteryear. An informative conference was organised, focusing on Creole values and exploring ideas for the future of Mauritian Creoles. The festival finished up with celebrations of traditional dance and new music combining a rousing crescendo to the weekend’s events.
The festivities opened Thursday, December 8th, in the setting of serene beauty found in the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses. An event set aside especially for children, the Zourne Zanfan featured games and stories from days gone by for kids aged 5 to 12 years old. Embracing the theme, “Zwe ek Zistwar Lontan,” the day’s activities centered on playing treasured games of the past, including coaxing hoops along with sticks. Children got to try their hand at a variety of rousing games of old, such as kanett, tina, lamarel, London and more. Young tots also got to take part in the fun through toys supplied for their enjoyment and stories woven for their imaginations to delight in. Gathering on a grassy field, the large grouping of youngsters who came to this kid-friendly event were highly entertained by musicians, singers and dancers in bright f loral costumes who performed for the younger generation.
Légendes du Séga
The Legends of Séga entertained with music and dance on Friday afternoon at the La Cure Station near Port Louis. Some of the true royalty of séga – Claudio Veeraragoo, Michel Legris, Roger Clency, Marie Josée, Alain Permal, Micheline Veerasawmy and Jean-Claude Gaspard – performed the traditional and emotional music of the region to the great joy of the crowd. Music lovers came to relive the heritage of the region’s musical roots, and many joined in, jubilantly singing along with familiar tunes that set the foundation for modern Mauritian music. Dancers in flamboyant skirts twirled on the stage to the rhythm, their contagious energy setting the crowd on fire. The two-hour long show was a grand success and a testament to the longevity of séga.
Creole Values and Vision Conference
Saturday’s events began with a morning conference in the Grand Baie International Conference Center. The public was invited to attend this presentation, themed “Kreolite, Valer et Vision.” With the emphasis on honoring Creole values and looking forward with a vision to the future, ideas on Creole life in Mauritius were presented and discussed. Considering the island’s strategic geographic location, and given that Mauritius now enjoys a #1 ranking in Africa for business environment, the time is ripe for looking forward to future endeavors. The concepts were ref lective of the 2012 National Budget directives recently presented by the Honorable Xavier Luc Duval, Mauritius’ Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who attended the conference. Further improving the businessfriendly environment of the island and preparing Mauritius for significant anticipated growth over the next few years seem to be key objectives, as the nation prepares itself for a larger presence in world markets.
Prime Minister Dr. Navin Ramgoolam was also in attendance, as were Vice President of Mauritius Monique San Bellepeau and Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Michael Sik Yuen.
That night was the night of the Gran Konzer– a grand, “all-night” concert, packed with local and international bands playing to a festive and welcoming crowd.
A celebratory air crackled throughout the night as band after band took the stage. Magic System, the Ivory Coast band with the French-African f lavor, currently nominated for “Francophone Group of the Year” in the prestigious 2012 NRJ Music Awards, and famous for their hit songs, “Premier Gaou” and “Même pas fatigué,” headlined in their famous zouglou style. Also appearing on the stage at Domaine les Pailles were Malky Jah of Re, Groupe Solitaire of Rodriques and Chicco Marino of Seychelles, along with Sandra Mayotte, Renel Stocky, Mario Justin and many other performers.
The mood was electric with bright lights, giant screens and fog machines. The enthusiastic crowd sang along with those on stage and danced in the standing-room-only arena. In the spotlight, the performers fed off the energy of the lively crowds below, and the party rocked all night long.
The sixth annual Festival International Kreol of Mauritius may have come to a close, but the Creole of Mauritius will long have reason to celebrate their unique culture.