Seychelles mourns loss of jazz icon Michel Farabeau |11 December 2023
It is with profound sadness that Seychelles NATION has learned of the passing on Thursday December 7, 2023, of Michel Farabeau, a renowned jazz player, musician and singer.
Michel Farabeau was not merely a musician; he dedicated his life to the art of jazz, creating a unique fusion that became synonymous with the Seychelles’ cultural identity.
His influence extended beyond the realm of music; he served as a mentor to many aspiring musicians, ensuring that his legacy would endure through the next generation of Seychellois artists. One of his last wishes was that, even after his passing, jazz and classical music will always be promoted in Seychelles.
A close friend and former colleague, Jerry Souris, shared that he met Michel in 1984 at the Bahá’í Centre of Victoria, where he was giving music tuition on Saturday afternoons.
“He was among them, and the group eventually evolved into a choir. The School of Music opened soon after, and Michel joined as a student. Recognising his skills, we invited him to be trained as a teacher at the Teacher Training College. I was one of his teachers and he later became a music teacher in schools,” Mr Souris recalled.
Michel Farabeau was a longstanding member of the National Band, demonstrating his commitment to music. After years of dedicated service, he had the opportunity to be trained as an instructor for the School of Music.
Mr Souris shared that “he worked at the School of Music for about 20 years before stepping down for health reasons. During his tenure as an instructor, Michel received training in Réunion Island for one of the instruments he played.”
“In the Bahá’í community, we embarked on a fantastic musical journey together. Michel was my main collaborator for religious and entertainment activities. We played jazz for many years in various groups, performed in hotels, and accompanied well-known artists in concerts in Seychelles and the region. We travelled to India, Mauritius, and Réunion Island to perform. In late 1986, we toured 11 states in India for a month. Just before Covid-19, we travelled together for a pilgrimage to the Mother Temple of Uganda. My last meeting with him was on November 11, 2023.”
Mr Souris emotionally recalled Michel as an exceptional musical partner, forming a fantastic duo in playing jazz and classical music in hotels.
“He could adapt his music to any situation we were in; that was his biggest quality!”
After his retirement, Michel spent some time teaching children music in some private schools.
Michel Farabeau leaves behind his two sons, Majid and Yhoni, the latter sharing his father's passion for music.
As the news spread, musicians and friends paid a vibrant homage to Michel Farabeau, recognising the cultural richness he brought to their lives on the social media platform.