Like many tropical destinations, the island of Mauritius has an intrinsic connection with sugar cane.
From the post-colonial architecture style of the original sugar mills that once dotted the local landscape - to the local rums handmade with the fresh sugar cane.
Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort sits on the exquisite beachfront of Bel Ombre, but behind the resort is an ocean of sugar cane, with plantations stretching away into the nearby hills.
Today, the sugar plantation heritage is alive and thriving through our local Creole Jazz band. If you’re unfamiliar with the history and connection, let us fill you in:
Back in the original sugarcane days, the field workers would gather around at sunset to relax, share a bottle of rum, and play music. Creole, the local Mauritian language, influenced the local music scene which included an eclectic mix of blues, sega, reggae grooves, and of course, Creole Jazz.
Eddie Collard is one of Mauritius’ most talented Creole Jazz artists, specializing in the trumpet. His band plays weekly at Outrigger to recreate those plantation nights for everyone to enjoy. We asked Eddie to sum up exactly why Creole Jazz is so special.
Q: How long have you been performing jazz?
A: I’ve been playing jazz for 30 years now. Time sure flies when you're having fun.
Q: What is your favourite song to perform?
A: I love Bags Groove from Miles Davis, but our guests ask us to play a variety of requests from artists like Louis Armstrong or Glen Miller. One of the songs we’re always asked for is Fly to the Moon from Frank Sinatra. It's a classic.
Q: How is jazz a part of your culture?
A: Mauritius is known for the rhythm of its Sega music which has its roots in African culture, and this rhythm is also found in jazz music, so we’ve adapted this classic jazz with our own culture to make it Creole Jazz. The rhythm and the richness of the jazz music match perfectly with the warmth of the Mauritian tropical night.
We're honored to have Eddie and the band play at the Plantation Club – our Mauritian restaurant – every 1st and 3rd Saturday during brunch, or every other Monday for our special Lobster Night. They also play live at Bar Bleu every Sunday evening. And of course, the band also brings their own brand of local magic to many of the special events that we host throughout the year.