Nou Le Morne 2019: Nature • Art • Culture
Once a year in the south western tip of Mauritius, people come together to witness a weekend of music and arts with a backdrop of nature in one harmonious gathering. Nou Le Morne 2019 celebrated freedom and culture through expressions of sounds, colours, and cultural coexistence.
For many travellers, the winding road of Coteau Raffin is the route towards Le Morne Brabant, a historical tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just off the right of Royal Road, and before the ascent of the mountain, sits a semi-paved driveway - the entrance to The Green Village. A walkway is lined with a compelling photo gallery, welcoming guests with images of global eco-initiatives captured and displayed in all their beauty.
Hosting over forty artists across two days, three stages, and numerous workshops and installations, Nou Le Morne 2019 offered itself as a platform for African arts and showcasing the very distinct percussive sound of Sega and Maloya of Mauritius and the Mascarene Islands. The festival also welcomed performances and installations from all over the world, including a fun, engaging campaign on saving the bees and a cross-cultural performance piece between Indian and African dancers.
Apart from the live sets and big bands, decks were setup for some of the most exciting and energetic DJs from Mauritius and Europe to keep the crowd grooving into the early hours, spinning right into the sunrise.
Sega, which is mostly understood as a genre, is also a form of spellbinding dance - the movement of the Creole people to express their struggles and experiences. The rhythm is a calling of a spirit, a mystical trance known as the Babani. It is that irresistible urge to flow and move with the beat, a phenomenon that is evident worldwide as dance culture and the festival scene grows.
Despite the occasional rain showers, the party continued. Festival-goers stayed and enjoyed themselves, some taking temporary shelter under trees or tents, others dancing in the downpour in delight. As umbrellas came up and cameras were tucked away, one word would circulate amidst the refreshing rain: “Blessings!”
Nou Le Morne’s success was a collaborative effort among many groups and individuals, hailing from all over the world and coming from all walks of life to culminate into one big community - on a weekend which also commemorates anti-slavery and celebrates human freedom.
Nou Le Morne, which means “Our Le Morne” is more than just a music and arts festival - it is a platform for different causes and expressions, and a reminder of our origin and unity. It’s one big party that upholds the human spirit, founded on compassion and inclusivity and geared towards connecting the world through the universal language of music.