It’s nine years today since Kaya died. Was he killed? Did he die naturally? No one (?) knows. And I am not sure I want to know what happened on that day.
What I do know instead is that Kaya (born Joseph Réginald Topize) was one among the greatest composers, musicians and singers born in Mauritius.
His legacy is his songs. I bought his Best Of, Seggae Experience, a few years ago and I’ve been playing two songs repeatedly today: Chant l’Amour and Ras Kouyon.
This first sentence from Chant l’Amour has very special meaning to me:
“Mo rapel quand mo ti zenfan
Mo zenseignant ti fini so lé temps
Pou faire moi comprend tou seki embalao”
(Translation: I remember when I was a kid, my teacher spent all his time teaching us useless things [instead of important things].) I always have this sentence in mind when I teach… and that’s why I guess I am a decent teacher.
One day I read something somewhere:
“People in developed countries have tremendous respect for their artists…”
Sometimes this sounds like “people in underdeveloped countries do not have any respect for their own artists”. (Of course, if someone remotely talented comes from Europe or from India, then we’ll all pay hundreds of rupees to go and watch that real artist…)
Maybe we’re still underdeveloped here.