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Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.
01:42 • Yom and his band
04:41 • Port Mathurin. The city, the harbour, the market
09:00 • After cyclone Berguitta
11:53 • Octopus fishing
13:53 • Elsewhere on the island
15:31 • The magic of the trees
16:33 • Some churches on the island
Rodrigues, a small island lost in the Indian Ocean seems to have been forgotten by the passage of time. There reigns a pleasant atmosphere made up of the sweetness of life and tranquility. The people are very welcoming.
Music in Rodrigues
The music of Rodrigues is quite different from that of Mauritius. First by the instruments used. The rhythm is faster and the diatonic accordion is omnipresent. But their common point is to be of African origin with European influences. In Rodrigues, we find the rhythm of traditional European music, such as the waltz (here called "laval"), the polka, the scottish (which becomes "kotis" in Rodrigues) or even the mazurka ("mazok" here), all of this. mixed with rhythms from Africa.
Small town, capital of a small island, Port Mathurin has about 6,000 inhabitants. Small provincial town with a few colonial houses, typical taverns near the port and colorful Creole huts sometimes decorated with original and friendly paintings.
Cyclones are frequent during the austral summer. In 2018 it was the turn of Berguitta, an intense cyclone that caused significant flooding in Rodrigues, Mauritius and Reunion. This very threatening cyclone fortunately lost its intensity before hitting Rodrigues and the damage was less important than announced.
Octopus fishing in Rodrigues
A traditional but particularly difficult activity is ourite (octopus) fishing practiced mainly by women. Ourite stitchers have a difficult job. The caught ourites are sold, mainly to restaurants which makes it a very popular specialty. In this film, a few images of ourite biters taken in 2003. During our trip in 2018, we saw some fishermen near Port Mathurin, but the cyclone prevented us from seeing the traditional biters in the south of the island again. .
Elsewhere in Rodrigues
Port Mathurin is the only major (well ... relatively important) town on the island. Rodrigues is surrounded by a lagoon and you can see a wonderful sea with turquoise reflections everywhere (except after a cyclone ...).
One of the great specialties of Rodrigues is the cultivation of peppers. Small artisanal shops can be found here and there on the side of the road, offering candied peppers or basketry. Rodrigues also has several interesting churches.
Spoken comments in the film:
Rodrigues is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, located about 600 kilometers east of Mauritius on which it depends. Time seems to have stood still in Rodrigues and there is much of the charms that characterized Mauritius a few decades ago. Peace of mind and sweetness of life.
This remarkable ibex statue is the work of François-Jean Fridolin and is on display in front of the Port Mathurin tourist office building. This artwork was made with motorcycle tires. This ibex is so extraordinary, both for the originality of the materials used and the finesse of the production that it inspired me to another film, a kind of tourist fantasy that takes this ibex around the island. (see the link on the site).
Strolling through the market on a rainy day. But that rain, while abundant, was nothing compared to what would happen the next day when Cyclone Berguitta hit the island and cut it off from the rest of the world for more than a week.
No images of the cyclone itself, because of the compulsory confinement during a cyclone ... But here are some images of the next day.
A deeply rooted tradition in Rodrigues is that of ourite (octopus) fishing. Fishing is practiced not with a net but with a spike to catch ourites between the stones at low tide. Fishermen are called "ourite biters".
Quel temps fait-il à Rodrigues?
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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of mauritian traditional music in "Rodrigues • Indian Ocean island", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.