Music and dance

The music and dance that evolved in Seychelles reflects its melting pot of cultures. There are three types of music with a dance that are commonly associated with Seychelles – the moutia, sega, and contredanse, while African rhythms are apparent in both the moutia and séga dances.

seychelles music and dance
music of seychelles

The sombre moutia is the typical dance of the Seychelles, with strong African and Malagasy rhythms which is usually played by the light of a beach bonfire. It’s a dance seen by the colonial authorities as so sexually brazen that it was banned. It is a primitive sounding beat played on a heated goatskin drum.

The songs are prayers which the slaves turned into work chants, and they’re accompanied by slow, repetitive dance routines. Performers often use satire to entertain and teach people of all ages It is a group dance done by fireside with the men and women lining up facing each other. The dance is often accompanied by a tambourine-like percussion instrument and two types of stringed instruments – a zez and bow.

Ega is another song and dance with strong African influences that is popular in Seychelles. It uses similar instruments to the moutia and has a Calypso-like rhythm with a shuffling, hip-swaying dance. Variations of the sega can also found on other Indian Ocean islands.

The sokoué dance resembles masked African dancing. Dancers portray birds, animals, and trees.

The Contredanse is a style of country song and dance with origins in the court of King Louis XIV. It is a combination of waltz, polka, and berliner played by a fiddle, banjo, accordian, drums, and triangle.