30 may. 2010

The Ahellil of Gourara

Performed during collective ceremonies, the Ahellil is a poetic and musical genre emblematic of the Zenete population of Gourara. This region in southwest Algeria includes some one hundred oases populated by over 50,000 inhabitants of Berber, Arab and Sudanese origin. The Ahellil, which is specific to the Berber-speaking part of Gourara, is regularly rendered at religious festivities and pilgrimages as well as secular celebrations, such as weddings and community events. The Ahellil is closely linked to the Zenete way of life and its oasis agriculture, symbolizing the cohesion of the community living in a harsh environment and, at the same time, transmitting the values and the history of the Zenete population in a language that is at risk of disappearing.
Simultaneously interpreted as poetry, polyphonic chant, music and dance, this genre is performed by a bengri (flute) player, a singer and a chorus of up to a hundred people. Standing shoulder to shoulder in a circle surrounding the singer, they slowly move around him while clapping their hands. An Ahellil performance consists of a series of chants in an order decided by the instrumentalist or singer and follows an age-old pattern. The first part, the lemserreh, includes everyone and encompasses short, well-known chants that are sung late into the night. The second, the aougrout, concerns only the experienced performers who continue until dawn. The tra finishes with daybreak and involves only the most accomplished performers. This threefold structure is also reflected in the chant performance, which begins with a prelude by the instrumentalist, followed by the chorus picking up certain verses, and ending with it chanting in whisper and slowly building up into a powerful, harmonious whole.
This tradition is threatened due to the dwindling number of occasions on which it is performed. This decline is linked to the rarity of traditional festivities. The migration of young people to the cities and the prevailing preference to listen to widely available Ahellil recordings rather than actively participating in live performances.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)
© Text and images: UNESCO

28 may. 2010

Up where we belong



Exhibition: Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture 
Dates:
July 1, 2010 – January 2, 2011
Place: National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC
Admission: free

This panel and object exhibition highlights Native people who have been active participants in contemporary music for nearly a century. Musicians like Russell "Big Chief" Moore (Gila River Indian Community), Rita Coolidge (Cherokee), Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree), and the group Redbone are a few of the Native performing artists who have had successful careers in popular music. Many have been involved in various forms of popular music—from jazz and blues to folk, country, and rock. Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture tells their stories and histories, and provides visitors the opportunity to hear samples by music greats and discover musicians with whom those exceptional musicians collaborated. Visitors will also learn about artists who inspired the musical greats as well as the contemporary artists they themselves influenced.
Native people have been active in contemporary music for nearly a century. Many Native artists have had successful and influential careers in almost every form of popular music. “Up Where We Belong” tells their stories and histories and provides visitors the opportunity to hear music and discover artists with whom these exceptional musicians collaborated. Visitors will also learn of the musical greats who inspired these artists, as well as the growing number of contemporary performers who follow in their path.
“Whether they basked in the limelight or played supporting roles, Native musicians have made an enormous contribution to American music as we know it today,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. “They forged new sounds, worked with some of the greatest names in the music industry and inspired current Native and non-Native performers who continue to build on their legacy, and we are proud to honor them in this exhibition.”
In addition to a video that discusses the musicians and their histories, the museum has gathered several personal objects to display. These include a colorful, full-length leather coat that belonged to famed electric guitarist Jimi Hendrix (Cherokee heritage). The Hendrix family also loaned other items, including a Fender Stratocaster guitar reproduction, a Gibson Flying V reproduction (neither are on display) and a leather necklace and pouch. Other objects to be displayed include Link Wray’s (Shawnee) 1958 Danelectro Longhorn guitar, a double-platinum album from heavy metal drummer Randy Castillo (Isleta Pueblo) and the famous green guitar from funk guitarist Stevie Salas (Apache).
The first theme is “In the Spotlight,” which focuses on Native performers who represent the diversity of artistry in American music. These artists include Academy Award-winning folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie (Plains Cree), renowned jazz musician Oscar Pettiford (Cherokee/Choctaw), singer and songwriter Peter La Farge (Narragansett) and instrumental innovator Wray (Shawnee).
“Encore” is the second segment of the exhibition and features artists who represent the span of Native achievement in mainstream music over the past half century. Some worked for years in the industry without wide acknowledgment of their Indian heritage, while others received recognition for integrating their Native identity into their music and for bringing Native themes to a wider audience. These artists include jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper (Kaw/Creek), heavy-metal singer Chuck Billy (Pomo) and singer Debora Iyall (Cowlitz).
The final portion of this exhibition, “Keeping the Beat,” highlights Native artists already achieving recognition across musical genres. These stars include country-music singer Crystal Shawanda (Ojibwa), blues-rock singer and guitarist Mato Nanji (Lakota) and singer, songwriter and musician Samantha Crain (Choctaw).
Visitors will be able to use hand-held MP3 players, available at a cart at the entrance of the exhibition, that have a playlist of complete and excerpted tracks of artists featured in the exhibition, including Mildred Bailey (Coeur d’Alene), Johnny Cash, Rita Coolidge (Cherokee), Robbie Robertson (Mohawk) and the group, Redbone.
© Text and images: National Museum of the American Indian

24 may. 2010

Fonio Casserole

What's fonio?
White fonio (Digitaria exilis) is the most important of a diverse group of wild and domesticated Digitaria species that are harvested in the savannas of west Africa, and considered to be the oldest cereal here. Fonio is the smallest of all species of millet. It is one of the primary cereals of southern Sudan and Ethiopia in Africa. It has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable use of the land.
Fonio has continued to be important locally because it is both nutritious and one of the world's fastest growing cereals, reaching maturity in as little as six to eight weeks. It is a crop that can be relied on in semi-arid areas with poor soils, where rains are brief and unreliable. The grains are used in porridge and couscous, for bread, and for beer.
Some regions in which this crop is important are the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea and the Akposso area of Togo. It is much used in Guinea, where it is eaten at nearly every possible meal.
The small grains make it difficult and time-consuming to remove the husk. Traditional methods include pounding it in a mortar with sand (then separating the grains and sand) or "popping" it over a flame and then pounding it (which yields a toasted color grain; this technique is used among the Akposso).
According to the mythology of the Dogon people of Mali, among whom it is known as pō tolo, the supreme creator of the universe, Amma, made the entire universe by exploding a single grain of fonio, located inside the "egg of the world".


The recipe: Fonio Casserole 
(by http://shellyfish.wordpress.com/)
•1 cup Fonio
•5 cups vegetable broth
•2 large carrots, diced
•1 large onion, chopped
•450g/1lb cooked garbanzo beans, well rinsed if canned
•1 can chopped tomatoes
•chopped garlic (up to your garlic preferences)
•1 tablespoon cumin
•1 teaspoon cayenne
•2 teaspoons turmeric
•1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
•1/2 cup fresh parsley, mixed in just before serving
Mix everything in a casserole dish, cover, and bake at about 350ºF/180ºC for 35min. Take it out and give it a stir, add some water if it’s looking dry, and put it back in until the carrots are tender, probably about a half an hour depending on the size of your carrot chunks. Let it sit a few minutes (like, while you’re chopping & rinsing your parsley), and add the parsley. Then it's already prepared and it can serve as a side dish for any good meat.

20 may. 2010

Baguette express

El món del vending està d’enhorabona. Diria que les primeres màquines expenedores devien ser les de bales de xiclet. Després van venir les de tabac. Després les de cafè. Van seguir les de pastisseria industrial... Fins i tot jo havia sentit a parlar d’unes màquines expenedores de sopa de fideus al Japó (per a aquells nipons que no poden esperar a arribar a casa per a prendre’s un bol d’Udon). Fins i tot al metro de Barcelona n’hi ha de llibres de butxaca... Però a partir de l’any vinent els francesos tindran una altra màquina expenedora als seus llocs públics: una màquina expenedora de baguettes... calentes!
L’invent és de l’empresa de Ripoll RIPLEG GRUP, S.L., que ha creat un prototip de màquina que cuina i dispensa baguettes en un minut. La màquina de vending té capacitat per a 110 bares de pa precuinades que es guarden a baixa temperatura, i abans de sortir, es couen en un forn a alta temperatura durant 60 segons.
L’empresa preveu inundar el mercat francès amb 1200 màquines que començarà a produir en breu a partir del prototip.
La col•laboració de Ripleg amb una empresa francesa ha permès innovar la tècnica capaç de servir el pa tan ràpidament.
Ara només ens queda esperar que inventin la versió catalana: una màquina expenedora de Bikinis. Calents, és clar!

18 may. 2010

62nd Tribal Art Auction at Zemanek-Münster

Date: Saturday, 2010 September 4th,  2 pm
Preview: Wednesday, September 1 to Friday, September 3 – 10 am to 7 pm  and Saturday, September 4 – 9 am to 1.30 pm
Place: Auctionhouse Zemanek-Münster, Hörleingasse 3-5, D-97070, Würzburg, Germany
Comments:
The upcoming 62nd Tribal Art Auction on September 4, will have a special part regarding Tanzania - all exhibits of the former exhibition "Tansania - Glaube, Kult und Geisterwelt".
Once again, you may expect a substantial offer of authentic old objects from Africa, America and Oceania. About 500 objects are shown in the catalogue with highlights from Gabon, Nigeria, Mali, the Ivory Coast, Congo and Indonesia.
A special part is given to the region of East Africa, and here in particular to Tanzania. Some 200 objects, all exhibits of the former exhibition "Tansania - Glaube, Kult und Geisterwelt" could be acquired for this auction. The exhibits, shown in 2007/2008 in the "Kultur- und Stadthistorische Museum" of the City of Duisburg and once again in 2009 in the "Haus der Völker", Schwaz (Austria) were taken from the private collection Ralf Schulte-Bahrenberg, who died in January 2010.
Ralf Schulte-Bahrenberg (1934-2010) was concert organizer of many domestic jazz festivals and co-organizer of Germany concerts of the Rolling Stones and Beatles.
About Zemanek-Münster:
The Zemanek-Münster art auction house in Würzburg has been involved with African art since the beginning of the nineties and it has become Europe's only auction house that specializes exclusively in non-European art.
The company started in 1978 as a small and distinguished antique shop for European art in Würzburg. Its first art auction was held seven years later, initially in rented rooms. In addition to their premises in Würzburg, Zemanek-Münster had been running art auctions for many years in Miltenberg (Frankfurt am Main) and following the reunification of Germany in 1989 in Dresden, the provincial capital of Saxony. In 1992 Zemanek-Münster moved into their premises in the Hörleingasse, Würzburg, an old blacksmith's shop in former times. In the summer of 2007 the auction house was renovated to provide more exhibition space and a new glass roof also considerably improved presentation.
In 1990 Zemanek-Münster was already reacting to emerging changes on the arts market. In 1991 the company started to specialise in non-European art with the separation of the Africa collection belonging to the late artist and great collector Joachim Schlotterbeck, who died in 2007.
The family run company today has eight full-time employees, who are art historians and ethnologists for European art and non-European art. The extended team also includes photographers, layouters and other enthusiastic employees. Their professional qualifications, academic application and the dedication with which auction catalogues are compiled have gained them a high degree of customer trust. The company is now widely regarded for its integrity, reliability and fairness in dealings with bidders and consignors all over the world.
These constant high standards have led to the success of this small, family-run company at an international level. In addition, amicable relationships with both customers and employees and a warm and welcoming atmosphere all form part of the Zemanek-Münster company philosophy and have proved a decisive factor in the success of the art auction house. The future is also in safe hands: David Zemanek, the older son, who grew up surrounded by art and is a qualified art-ethnologist himself, will take over in the future.

16 may. 2010

Albanian Folk Iso-Polyphony

Traditional Albanian polyphonic music can be divided into two major stylistic groups as performed by the Ghegs of northern Albania and the Tosks and Labs living in the southern part of the country. The term iso is related to the ison of Byzantine church music and refers to the drone accompanying polyphonic singing. The drone is performed in two ways: among the Tosks, it is always continuous and sung on the syllable ’e’, using staggered breathing, while among the Labs, the drone is sometimes sung as a rhythmic tone, performed to the text of the song. Rendered mainly by male singers, the music traditionally accompanies a wide range of social events, such as weddings, funerals, harvest feasts, religious celebrations and festivals such as the well-known Albanian folk festival in Gjirokastra.
Albanian iso-polyphony is characterized by songs consisting of two solo parts, a melody and a countermelody with a choral drone. The structure of the solo parts varies according to the different ways of performing the drone, which has a great variety of structures, especially in the popular style adopted by all groups performing this music. Over the last few decades, the modest rise of cultural tourism and the growing interest of the research community in this unique folk tradition have contributed to the revival of Albanian iso-polyphony. However, the tradition is adversely affected by poverty, the absence of legal protection and the lack of financial support for practitioners, threatening the transmission of the vast repertoire of songs and techniques. The rural exodus of young people to the bigger cities and abroad in search of jobs compounds this danger. Given these conditions, at the present time, the transmission of this tradition is maintained through professional folk artists, rather than within the family structure.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)
© Text and images: UNESCO

8 may. 2010

The Last Gods of Easter Island

The Lost Gods of Easter Island is a BBC documentary written and presented by David Attenborough. It explores the history of the civilization of the remote Easter islands. Attenborough embarks on a personal quest to uncover the history of a strange wooden figurine carving which turned up in an auction room in New York during the 1980′s.
The auction catalogue indicated that the carving was from Easter Island and the auctioneers told him that the sculpture had come from a junk-shop dealer in Pennsylvania. He knew that the, “grotesque head, attached to a body grossly elongated and as thin as a stick,” was more important than the auctioneers believed it to be and had such presence and power that he bought it.
He began an investigation to trace the origins of the artifact — an investigation that spans the globe and leads him on voyages to Russia, Australia, England, the Pacific, a Tahiti beach and finally to one of the most remote places on earth; and 15 years later, in a personal detective story that combines art, anthropology, and history traces the origin of the carving and in doing so tells the story of a forgotten civilization and of a people who inhabited one of the most remote places on Earth.

6 may. 2010

The Wodaabe of the Sahel

Name: Wodaabe (or Bororo)
Living Area: Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African Republic (Africa)
Population: 45.000 (1983)
Language: Fula
Comments:   
In the Fula language, woɗa means "taboo", and Woɗaaɓe means "people of the taboo". This is sometimes translated as "those who respect taboos", a reference to the Wodaabe isolation from broader Fulbe culture, and their contention that they retain "older" traditions than their Fulbe neighbors. In contrast, other Fulbe as well as other ethnic groups sometimes refer to the Wodaabe as "Bororo", a sometimes pejorative name, translated into English as "Cattle Fulani", and meaning "those who dwell in cattle camps". By the 17th century, the Fula people across West Africa were among the first ethnic groups to embrace Islam, were often leaders of those forces which spread Islam, and have been traditionally proud of the urban, literate, and pious life with which this has been related. Both Wodaabe and other Fulbe see in the Wodaabe the echos of an earlier pastoralist way of life, of which the Wodaabe are proud and of which urban Fulbe are sometimes critical.
The Wodaabe keep herds of long-horned Zebu cattle. The dry season extends from October to May. Their annual travel during the wet season follows the rain from the south to the north. Groups of several dozen relatives, typically several brothers with their wives, children and elders, travel on foot, donkey or camel, and stay at each grazing spot for a couple of days. A large wooden bed is the most important possession of each family; when camping it is surrounded by some screens. The women also carry calabashes as a status symbol. These calabashes are passed down through the generations, and often provoke rivalry between women. The Wodaabe mostly live on milk and ground millet, as well as yogurt, sweet tea and occasionally the meat of a goat or sheep. This is a rarity for them as they don't often have enough animals to spare for meat.
Wodaabe religion is largely but loosely Islamic. Although there are varying degrees of orthodoxy exhibited, most adhere to at least some of the basic requirements of the religion. Islam became a religion of importance among Wodaabe peoples during the 16th century when the scholar al-Maghili preached the teachings of Muhammad to the elite of northern Nigeria. Al-Maghili was responsible for converting the ruling classes among Hausa, Fulani, and Tuareg peoples in the region.
The code of behavior of the Wodaabe emphasizes reserve and modesty (semteende), patience and fortitude (munyal), care and forethought (hakkilo), and loyalty (amana). They also place great emphasis on beauty and charm.
Parents are not allowed to talk directly to their two first born children, who will often be cared for by their grandparents. During daylight, husband and wife cannot hold hands or speak in a personal manner with each other.
The Wodaabe are sexually liberal; unmarried girls may have sex whenever and with whomever they wish. The Wodaabe practice polygamy. The first marriage is typically arranged among members of the same lineage by parents when the couple are infants (called koogal); later additional "love marriages" (teegal) are also possible, when a woman leaves her husband and joins another one. A bride stays with her husband until she becomes pregnant after which she returns to her mother's home, where she will remain for the next three to four years. She will deliver the baby at her mother's home and then she becomes a boofeydo which literally means "someone who has committed an error." While she is boofeydo, she is not allowed to have any contact with her husband, and he is not allowed to express any interest in either her or the child. After two to three years, she is permitted to visit her husband, but it is still taboo that she should live with him or bring the child with her; this only becomes permissible when her mother has managed to purchase all the items that are necessary for her home.


Well-known by: the Gerewol and Yaake dances.
At the end of the rainy season in September, Wodaabe clans gather in several traditional locations before the beginning of their dry season transhumance migration. The best known of these is In-Gall's Cure Salée salt market and Tuareg seasonal festival. Here the young Wodaabe men, with elaborate make-up, feathers and other adornments, perform the Yaake: dances and songs to impress marriageable women. The male beauty ideal of the Wodaabe stresses tallness, white eyes and teeth; the men will often roll their eyes and show their teeth to emphasize these characteristics. Wodaabe clans then join for the remainder of the week-long Gerewol: a series of barters over marriage and contests where the young men's beauty and skills are judged by young women.


Some words in their language:   
hello: no ngoola daa
my name is ___:  Ko ___ njeyaa mi.
yes: ee, qeeyi
no: ala
goodbye: mi yahee

© Photos and text: Wikipedia

4 may. 2010

The Way of Tea

Show: The Way of the Tea
Date: Friday 10 September, 14:00 and 15:00
Place: Room 92, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Admission: Free
Comments:
A free demonstration of the Japanese tea ceremony in the Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese galleries.
Presented and supported by the Urasenke Foundation.

The History of the Tea Ceremony:
The popularity of tea is worldwide, but nowhere in the world does tea contribute as much to the cultural milieu as in Japan. There the preparation and drinking of tea has acquired esthetic significance and has developed into a distinct artistic accomplishment.
Tea was originally brought to Japan in the 9th century, by the Buddhist monk Eichū (永忠), who had returned to Japan from China. This is the first documented evidence of tea in Japan. The entry in the Nihon Kōki states that Eichū personally prepared and served sencha (unground Japanese green tea) to Emperor Saga who was on an excursion in Karasaki (in present Shiga Prefecture) in the year 815. By imperial order in the year 816, tea plantations began to be cultivated in the Kinki region of Japan. However, the interest in tea in Japan faded after this.
In China, tea had already been known, according to legend, for more than a thousand years. The form of tea popular in China in the era when Eichū went for studies was "cake tea" (団茶 dancha)—tea compressed into a nugget in the same manner as Pu-erh. This then would be ground in a mortar, and the resulting ground tea decocted together with various other herbs and/or flavorings.
The custom of drinking tea, first for medicinal, and then largely also for pleasurable reasons, was already widespread throughout China. In the early 9th century, Chinese author Lu Yu wrote The Classic of Tea, a treatise on tea focusing on its cultivation and preparation. Lu Yu's life had been heavily influenced by Buddhism, particularly the Zen–Chán school.[citation needed] His ideas would have a strong influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Around the end of the 12th century, the style of tea preparation called "tencha" (点茶), in which matcha was placed in a bowl, hot water poured into the bowl, and the tea and hot water whipped together, was introduced by Eisai, another Japanese monk returning from China. He also brought tea seeds back with him, which eventually produced tea that was of the most superb quality in all of Japan.
This powdered green tea was first used in religious rituals in Buddhist monasteries. By the 13th century, when the Kamakura Shogunate ruled the nation and the samurai warrior class ruled supreme, tea and the luxuries associated with it became a kind of status symbol among the warrior class, and there arose tea-tasting (闘茶 tōcha) parties wherein contestants could win extravagant prizes for guessing the best quality tea—that grown in Kyoto, deriving from the seeds that Eisai brought from China.
The next major period in Japanese history was the Muromachi Period, pointing to the rise of Kitayama Culture (北山文化 Kitayama bunka), centered around the elegant cultural world of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and his villa in the northern hills of Kyoto, and later during this period, the rise of Higashiyama Culture, centered around the cultural world of Ashikaga Yoshimasa and his retirement villa in the eastern hills of Kyoto. This period saw the budding of what is generally regarded as Japanese traditional culture as we know it today.
Tea ceremony developed as a "transformative practice", and began to evolve its own aesthetic, in particular that of wabi. Wabi, meaning quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste, "is characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry [emphasizing] simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and [celebrating] the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials." Murata Jukō is known in chanoyu history as the early developer of this, and therefore is generally counted as the founder of the Japanese "way of tea". He studied Zen under the monk Ikkyū, who revitalized Zen in the 15th century, and this is considered to have influenced his concept of chanoyu.
By the 16th century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of society in Japan. Sen no Rikyu, perhaps the most well-known—and still revered—historical figure in tea ceremony, followed his master, Takeno Jōō's, concept of ichi-go ichi-e, a philosophy that each meeting should be treasured, for it can never be reproduced. His teachings perfected many newly developed forms in Japanese architecture and gardens, fine and applied arts, and the full development of chadō, "the "way of tea". The principles he set forward—harmony ( wa), respect ( kei), purity ( sei), and tranquility ( jaku)—are still central to tea ceremony.
Many schools of Japanese tea ceremony have evolved through the long history of chadō and are active today.

©Text by Wikipedia, Photo by British Museum

2 may. 2010

Intangible Cultural Heritage

The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions,performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.
The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as for developed ones.
Intangible cultural heritage is:
•Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time: intangible cultural heritage does not only represent inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part;
•Inclusive: we may share expressions of intangible cultural heritage that are similar to those practised by others. Whether they are from the neighbouring village, from a city on the opposite side of the world, or have been adapted by peoples who have migrated and settled in a different region, they all are intangible cultural heritage: they have been passed from one generation to another, have evolved in response to their environments and they contribute to giving us a sense of identity and continuity, providing a link from our past, through the present, and into our future. Intangible cultural heritage does not give rise to questions of whether or not certain practices are specific to a culture. It contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of one or different communities and to feel part of society at large;
•Representative: intangible cultural heritage is not merely valued as a cultural good, on a comparative basis, for its exclusivity or its exceptional value. It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, or to other communities;
•Community-based: intangible cultural heritage can only be heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities, groups or individuals that create, maintain and transmit it – without their recognition, nobody else can decide for them that a given expression or practice is their heritage.


The List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding which came into being in Abu Dhabi, includes 12 elements proposed by States Parties to the Convention and whose viability is endangered, despite the efforts of the community or group concerned. By inscribing an element on this List, the State undertakes to implement specific safeguards and may be eligible to receive financial assistance from a Fund set up for this purpose.
The Representative List already included 90 elements, following the incorporation of the 90 masterpieces proclaimed before the Convention entered into force. It is now augmented by 76 first elements inscribed according to criteria defined in the operational directives of the Convention. These elements must help enhance the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and raise awareness regarding its importance; they must benefit from measures to promote their continued practice and transmission, and must have been nominated by States with the active and widest possible participation of the communities concerned, and with their free, prior and informed consent.
The Committee also selected 3 safeguarding programmes, projects and activities that it considers best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention. The Committee hopes to use this register of good practices to raise public awareness of the importance of intangible heritage and the need to safeguard it.
© Text and images: UNESCO
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