Fanfan nous a quittés…

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Un monument de la musique locale s’en est allé ce samedi 18 août. Louis Gabriel Joseph, plus connu comme Fanfan et figure incontournable du séga typique, s’est éteint à l’âge de 88 ans. Il était à l’hospice Saint Jean de Dieu à Pamplemousses.

Sarojini Seeneevassen rend hommage à Fanfan

It brings me to some 45 years ago, at ‘La Maison de Culture et de Loisirs’, for an event organized by Jean Claude Antoine to bring artists and young people to interact with each other. A few standing microphones, we all sat on the floor. I was struck by the energy of Fanfan’s music, language, rhythm as well as his joyful and strong personality. I hesitantly asked if he would teach me how to play the ravanne. He said: “To vin lacaz kan to envi.”. I did, and a deep friendship developed which lasted until this morning, when Fanfan passed away at the age of 88.

His home then was a mere shack – cyclones brought it down and he put it up again with the help of friends. But I will never forget how we sang and beat the drums until the frail walls and roof of his house vibrated  no, trembled as voices and drums related joy, love, life and hope. Fanfan was not literate, and yet he understood more about life that many, which to my eyes made him a poet and philosopher in his own right.

I have heard no one speak creole as beautifully and forcefully as Fanfan. I went regularly for more and more of the education he freely offered. He was not just a “segatier”. In his home you became imbibed with his unflinching values: honesty, truthfulness, compassion, justice. We brought friends, then our own children to him – as one would to a guru. He could relate stories which had their roots deep in our history and no one left his home without cramps for having laughed so much. He was like an oasis full of all that is fresh and wholesome.

So today is goodbye to a man with a very special kind of energy, a role model with values which our society sorely lacks nowadays. Fanfan’s friendship is a precious gift for which my gratitude will last until my own end. To his two daughters, who I saw grow into wonderful young women, I present my heartfelt condolences.

Sarojini Seeneevassen

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Un monument de la musique locale s’en est allé ce samedi 18 août. Louis Gabriel Joseph, plus connu comme Fanfan et figure incontournable du séga typique, s’est éteint à l’âge de 88 ans. Il était à l’hospice Saint Jean de Dieu à Pamplemousses.

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