Seychellois dance and song competitions launched for Creole Festival in October

The Agency launched the separate contemporary dance and song competitions in a press conference on Wednesday. (Creative Seychelles Agency)

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The Creative Seychelles Agency (CSA) has launched a competition to compel musical composers and dancers to build on existing Creole repertoire, which will be used as the soundtrack for the Creole Festival in October.  

The Agency launched the separate contemporary dance and song competitions in a press conference on Wednesday.

Dancers and musicians in the island nation in the western Indian Ocean have until September 11 to hand in their forms for two separate competitions being organised as activities to mark the Festival this year.

There has been a tradition of various song competitions being held in the past to mark the Creole Festival, with the winning song used as the soundtrack for the festivities for that year.

The last time such a competition was held was in 2013 when female vocalist Sandra won with her song “Nou Lidantite” or “Our Identity” in English.

“With the latest song competition, artists are encouraged to come with an original composition of three minutes and 40 seconds,” said popular singer Jany Letourdie, who is in charge of the song competitions.

She said that the artists will submit their work and be judged anonymously.

A Seychellois dance instructor, Daniella Rose is overseeing the contemporary dance competition, which is open to 15 to 35-year-old dancers who will perform a piece no longer than three minutes and not shorter than two.

The pieces should showcase contemporary moves that are intentional so that the authorities can promote new dance moves and the Creole culture.

The executive director of CSA, Emmanuel D’Offay, told reporters that “We want to continue building on existing Creole song and dance repertoires. In addition to judging their originality, they will also have to use at least three or four traditional instruments in their songs which should also be in Creole.”

Traditional music in Seychelles usually incorporates instruments such as Moutya drums or ‘Bonm’- which is a stringed instrument played with a stick.

When asked whether there are enough musicians able to play such instruments, D’Offay said: “This is an opportunity for musicians to collaborate with each other so that they may have the artists who can.”

In addition to practicing music for at least three years, the competitors must be either semi-professionals or professionals in the field.

The Creole Festival is an annual celebration of the various aspects of Seychellois culture. Traditionally, it was held in the last week of October for the nation to celebrate its diversity, rich heritage and culture.

For their efforts, the winners in their respective competitions may win prizes ranging from SCR50,000 ($3,700) for the first prize, SCR30,000 ($2,200) for the second, and SCR20,000 ($1,500) for the third.

“We are offering interesting prizes so that we give value to the work that will be submitted,” concluded D’Offay.

CSA will then have the artists perform their work in a show to present their latest creations.

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