“ Living Heritage: Exploring the Intangible” <ul><li>Deze presentatie is een virtuele versie van de tentoonstelling “Living Heritage: Exploring the Intangible”, die tussen 12 april en 30 november 2007 te zien was aan het UNESCO hoofdkwartier in Parijs. </li></ul><ul><li>Deze tentoonstelling bevat meer dan 90 foto’s van Meesterwerken van immaterieel erfgoed met onder andere orale tradities, traditionele muziek, dans en theater, sociale praktijken en rituelen, traditionele kennis en ambachten. Achtergrond bij het debat: “Ontastbaar of onaanraakbaar? Een debat over de overleving en overlevering van immaterieel erfgoed. ” georganiseerd door UNESCO Centrum Vlaanderen. </li></ul>
Belgium: The Carnival of Binche Every year on Shrove Sunday, the streets of Binche are filled with hundreds of elaborately costumed Gilles characters with ostrich-feather hats and wooden clogs, bells and waxed masks. One of Europe’s oldest street festivals has continued as a living tradition thanks to the commitment of the local population.
Benin-Nigeria-Togo: The Oral Heritage of Gelede The Gelede ceremony, held in honour of the primordial mother Iyà Nlà, is directed by women, reflecting their important role in Yoruba life. After weeks of preparations, singers and drummers open the night-time ceremony, followed by an orchestra and masked dancers wearing splendid costumes.
Yemen: The Song of Sana’a The Song of Sana’a is a group of songs accompanied by the fine sound of the Yemeni lute and a lightly struck copper tray. The poetic repertory, written in both Yemeni dialects and classical Arabic, abounds in wordplay and is renowned for its emotional content.
Cambodia: Sbek Thom, Khmer Shadow Theatre The shadow theatre Sbek Thom features large non-articulated puppets made of leather, brought to life by the animators’ precise gestures and dance steps. Accompanied by an orchestra and narrators, the puppet dancers stage scenes of the Ramayana epic, known in Cambodia as Reamker.
Costa Rica: Oxherding and Oxcart Traditions in Costa Rica Once used to transport coffee beans from the Central Highlands to the Pacific coast, colourfully painted and decorated oxcarts are today presented at nation-wide contests. The oxcarts’ characteristic spokeless wheels are a hybrid between the Aztec disc and the spoked wheel introduced by the Spanish.
Palestinian territories: The Palestinian Hikaye The Hikaye narrative presents fictitious and contemporary issues of Palestine society from the perspective of women storytellers. Narrated in colloquial Arabic, its expressive power lies in the use of language, speech rhythms and vocal inflections.
Gambia-Senegal: The Kankurang, Initiatory Rite The Kankurang is a protective spirit, embodied by a masked and costumed man, at the centre of a ritual system comprising songs, traditions and initiatory rites for young boys. The ritual ensures the transmission and teaching of complex know-how and practices underpinning Manding cultural identity.
Turkey: The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony Originating in Sufi tradition, the Mevleviye dance groups are famous for their practice of whirling dances. Accompanied by a musical repertoire that combines elements of Turkish and Persian music, the dancers rotate for several hours, seeking to feel closer to the divine.
Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania: The Baltic Song and Dance These mass cultural events celebrate musical traditions and various folk arts of the Baltic region, as they have for more than a century. Amateur choirs and dance groups practice throughout the year in local community centres, contributing to the continuation and popularity of this tradition.
Colombia: The Carnival of Barranquilla Masqueraded dancers, actors and musicians delight crowds through performances marked by European, African and indigenous influences. To enhance the transmission of the tradition, the Children’s Carnival was created and has become a vital element of the carnival.
Jordan: The Cultural Space of the Bedu in Petra and Wadi Rum The Bedu have preserved wide-ranging knowledge and skills related to the area around Petra and Wadi Rum, including traditional medicine, camel husbandry, tent-making craftsmanship, tracking and climbing as well as rituals of coffee-making and oral traditions reflecting their mythology.
Vanuatu: Vanuatu Sand Drawings Sand drawing is a multifunctional “writing” produced on the ground, in sand, volcanic ash or clay, using one finger to draw a graceful, often symmetrical composition of geometric patterns. It serves as a means of communication among the members of some 80 ethnolinguistic groups.
Italy: Opera dei Pupi, Sicilian Puppet Theatre Mainly based in Palermo and Catania, the Opera dei Pupi had its heyday in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The puppeteers show great mastery in bringing characters of medieval chivalric epics alive. A few family-run theatres survive, thanks to safeguarding activities that started a century ago.
Bolivia: The Andean Cosmovision of the Kallawaya The Kallawaya are known for their broad knowledge of plants and minerals, and their medical techniques and healing rituals expressing indigenous beliefs. Their knowledge of medical plants is still expanding as the Kallawaya healers and their apprentices search for new healing methods in the widely varying ecosystems of the Andes region.
Madagascar: The Woodcrafting Knowledge of the Zafimaniry The Zafimaniry community of about 25,000 people practices a unique wood crafting culture. Most wooden surfaces in their villages – from utensils to houses – are delicately crafted, displaying elaborate ornamentation. These motifs carry rich symbolic significance related to Zafimaniry cosmovision and values.
Morocco: The Moussem of Tan-Tan The Moussem of Tan-Tan in southwest Morocco is an annual gathering of nomadic people of the Sahara region. The festivity provides a place for exchange and for practising a wide range of cultural expressions, such as musical performances, popular songs, games, contests and poetry.
China: The Guqin and its Music China’s most famous and appreciated traditional solo instrument, the Guqin zither has existed over 3,000 years. Different playing techniques fuse light flowing overtones with strong, clear sound. Guqin playing developed as an elite art form that Chinese scholars were expected to master.
Georgia: Georgian Polyphonic Singing Polyphonic singing is a popular tradition that used to pervade all areas of everyday life in Georgia, ranging from field work to songs for curing illnesses and Christmas carols. There are three types of polyphony in Georgia, each performed in a different region.
Brazil: Oral and Graphic Expressions of the Wajapi Wajapi communities in northern Amazonia have a long history of producing and using vegetable dyes to adorn their bodies with geometric motifs and symbols. Motifs of the jaguar, anaconda, butterfly and fish animate the worldview and oral traditions of the Wajapi.
Ghana Kente cloths are the hand-woven textiles made by the Asante and Ewe in Ghana. The narrow textile strips are assembled and sewn together into larger pieces that are worn on various social and religious occasions. These cloths come in a wide range of colours, sizes and designs rich in significance.
China-Mongolia: Urtiin Duu - Traditional Folk Long Song Urtiin duu songs, often accompanied by the typical Morin Khuur, play a major role in the life of Mongolian communities in Mongolia and neighbouring China. The beautiful chants are characterized by a long, continuously flowing melody with rich rhythmic variation and a wide vocal range.
Russian Federation: The Olonkho, Yakut Heroic Epos Practiced by the Yakut of the Sakha Republic, the Olonkho epic expresses beliefs, customs and legends about the deeds of ancient warriors. Olonkho narrators must be eloquent actors and talented singers, proficient in poetical improvisation.
Guatemala: The Rabinal Achí Dance Drama Tradition The Rabinal Achí dance drama is a play with musical and dance interludes based on myths about political conflicts between two Maya groups. The characteristics of the text and versification are evidence of a sophisticated pre-Hispanic Amerindian literary style.
Côte d'Ivoire: The Gbofe of Afounkaha - the Music of the Transverse Trumps The Gbofe horns, made of long roots covered by cowhide, reproduce the words of the Tagbana language. Female choirs, accompanied by drummers, respond to the calling of the horns. Mainly performed in the village of Afounkaha, the Gbofe is part of collective rituals and traditional ceremonies.
Malawi-Mozambique-Zambia: The Gule Wamkulu Performed by the Chewa people of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, the Gule Wamkulu is a dance that accompanies initiation ceremonies, weddings, funerals and the installation of chiefs. Male dancers wear full costumes and masks made of wood and straw, expressing a great variety of spiritual and secular characters.
China: The Uyghur Muqam of Xinjiang At the cultural crossroads of East and West along the ancient Silk Road, the Uyghur are one of China’s largest ethnic minorities. Their Muqam performances embrace songs, folk dances, and classical and popular music, ranging from spontaneous village celebrations to stage presentations.
Uganda: Barkcloth Making in Uganda The Mutaba tree provides the raw material for the delicate manufacture of bark-cloth. Produced for the royal family and other Buganda community members and highly recognized as a marker of cultural traditions, this precious cloth is worn at coronations and healing ceremonies, funerals and social gatherings.
Japan: Kabuki Theatre Based on classical literature, Kabuki is a popular form of Japanese drama. Male actors, who also take the female roles, perform in a highly stylized way with colourful make-up and distinctive hairstyles. Music, costumes, elaborate scenery and various props combine to define the Kabuki performance.
Indonesia: The Wayang Puppet Theatre To enliven the highly crafted rod puppets, master puppeteers manipulate the swivelling arms and legs by means of sticks, accompanied by a narrator and gamelan orchestra. The plays combine local myths, Indian epics and Persian tales with contemporary issues.
China: Kun Qu Opera Rooted in popular theatre, Kun Qu influenced many other forms of Chinese opera. It is characterized by a dynamic structure, rhythmic patterns, typical melodies and complex choreography combining acrobatics and symbolic gestures. Kun Qu is considered the oldest form of Chinese opera still performed.
Colombia: The Cultural Space of Palenque de San Basilio The walled village Palenque de San Basilio was founded as a refuge by escaped slaves in the seventeenth century. The musical and oral traditions, religious festivities, funeral rituals, medical practices and community organization of its residents are still quite distinctive.
India: Ramlila - the Traditional Performance of the Ramayana Performed in hundreds of towns and villages across northern India, the Ramlila celebrates Rama, the hero of the Ramayana epic. The audience plays a pivotal role in these collective events by assisting the actors to get prepared, and by their singing and spontaneous acting.
Zimbabwe: The Mbende Jerusarema Dance A popular dance style practised by the Zezuru Shona people living in eastern Zimbabwe, the Mbende Jerusarema is characterized by acrobatic and sensual movements by women and men, driven by a polyrhythmic drummer accompanied by men playing woodblock clappers and by women handclapping, yodelling and blowing whistles.
Algeria: The Ahellil of Gouara The Ahellil is a series of collective chants performed at social gatherings and celebrations of the Berber-speaking population of the Gouara region. Starting with short well-known songs performed by the whole group, the performances build to a conclusion featuring the most accomplished singers.
Bhutan: The Mask Dance of the Drums from Drametse The Drametse festival, held in honour of a Buddhist guru, is attended by people from Drametse as well as neighbouring villages. The highlight of this festival is the Drametse gacham, a sacred mask dance, introduced in the sixteenth century and performed ever since.
Japan In 1950, the Government of Japan began to designate certain individuals or groups who are bearers of important intangible cultural assets as iving national treasures. The title is awarded to masters of crafts that include wood-block printing, papermaking, basket weaving, swordsmithing and pottery, and to renowed actors and musicians of traditional performances.
Estonia: The Kihnu Cultural Space The island of Kihnu is home to a community of about 600 people who have developed distinctive cultural expressions and agricultural traditions. Mainly women practice and transmit the songs, games and dances and the skills of wool crafts, which have become the emblem of Kihnu culture.
Philippines: The Hudhud Chants of the Ifugao Well known for their rice terraces and extensive knowledge of rice cultivation, the Ifugao perform the Hudhud chants during the sowing and harvest seasons and at funeral wakes. The chants are transmitted orally and tell about ancestral heroes, customary law, traditional practices and religious beliefs.
CAR: The Polyphonic Singing of the Aka Pygmies The polyphonic songs of the Aka Pygmies are an integral part of their hunting and life-cycle rituals, a tool of communication and reaffirmation of community values. With socio-economic changes, deforestation and rural exodus, the Aka traditions are inclined to gradually disappear.
India: The Tradition of Vedic Chanting Regarded by Hindus as the foundation of their religion, the Vedas or books of knowledge comprise a vast corpus of poetry, philosophy and mythology. The verses are recited in a complex style taught from an early age, and must be performed without alteration.
Ethiopia A form of liturgical music distinctive to Ethiopia, Zema is performed at religious ceremonies such as the monthly celebration of Gabra Manfas Qedus, a local saint. The priests, gathering in front of the Christian Orthodox church Saris ’Abo in Addis Ababa, wear sumptuous costumes and carry covered icons on their head.
Zambia: The Makishi Masquerade As part of initiation, boys leave their communities to live in a bush camp where they are taught practical skills as well as knowledge about nature, religion and social values. For their reintegration into the community, they perform the Makishi masquerade involving beautifully painted masks that represent different spiritual characters.
Japan: Nôgaku Theatre Nôgaku plays vividly depict supernatural beings and ordinary people centuries ago, distinguished through various masks used for the roles of ghosts, heroes, men and women, children and old people. The principal form of Japanese theatre, Nôgaku has influenced puppet theatre as well as Kabuki.
Guinea: The Cultural Space of Sosso-Bala A sacred symbol of freedom and identity of the Manding community, the Sosso-bala is a wooden xylophone or balafon played on occasions such as the Muslim New Year and burials. The master players, holding an important position in Manding society, teach children as young as seven.
Nigeria: The Ifa Divination System Practiced among the Yoruba, Ifa divination relies on a complex system of signs, compiled in a literary corpus, that are interpreted by a diviner to guide important personal or collective decisions. The literary corpus is a treasury of knowledge concerning Yoruba history, philosophy, medicine and mythology.
India: Kutiyattam, Sanskrit Theatre Practised in Kerela Province, Kutiyattam is one of India’s oldest theatrical traditions and represents a synthesis of classicism and local traditions. Colourful costumes, masks and make-up add to the language of gestures, body movements and eye expressions that characterize this highly stylized performance.
Malawi: The Vimbuza Healing Dance Popular among the Tumbuka people, the Vimbuza is practiced by renowned traditional healers in a special ritual. Patients slowly enter trance, while the audience performs songs to call helping spirits. Vimbuza is a useful complement to other forms of medical treatment.
Mongolia: The Traditional Music of the Morin Khuur A prominent musical expression among nomadic Mongolians, the Morin Khuur is an integral part of rituals and everyday activities. Distinct in sound, this two-stringed fiddle is characterized by its long neck bearing a carved horse head, reflecting the all-important cult of the horse among the nomad communities.
Morocco: The Cultural Space of Jemaa el-Fna Square Dating back to the fourteenth century, the triangular Jemaa el-Fna Square has become the symbol of Marrakech, protected as part of Morocco’s artistic heritage since 1922. It features a unique concentration of traditions, such as storytelling, healing and various forms of entertainment as well as commercial activities.
Mozambique: The Chopi Timbila The Chopi people of southern Mozambique are famous for their orchestras of up to thirty wooden xylophones of varying sizes and ranges of pitch. Each year, several new pieces are composed and performed at social festivities and other community events in combination with the energetic Timbila dance.
France In 2000, the violin-maker Patrick Robin was named “Master of Art”, a distinction for honouring traditional knowledge and craftsmanship launched by the French Ministry for Culture and Communication. This distinction also provides an annual allowance making it possible for masters to transmit their knowledge and skills to students.
Iraq: The Iraqi Maqam Highly popular among Iraqi people, the Maqam is widely recognized as the country’s predominant classical music tradition. Today, many concerts are given abroad, bearing witness to its continuing success and popularity within as well as outside the country.
Indonesia: The Indonesian Kris The Kris is an asymmetrical dagger connected to a rich spirituality and mythology. Smiths, who are respected artisans and the bearers of spiritual knowledge, make the blades in layers of different iron ores and meteorite nickel. Krises are used as talismans, sanctified heirlooms or accessories for ceremonial dress.
Spain: The Patum of Berga Dating back to the Middle Ages, the Patum includes a series of theatrical performances and parades that fill the streets of this Catalan town north of Barcelona. The religious commemoration preserved its pagan and profane roots despite proscription by the Church and has maintained remarkable continuity for nearly 600 years.
Japan: Ningyo Johruri Bunraku Puppet Theatre Three puppeteers visible to the audience manipulate beautifully costumed puppets while an offstage narrator provides their voices, accompanied by a lute. More than 400 years old, the puppet theatre continues to appeal to modern audiences with its mix of historical and contemporary drama.
Italy: Canto a tenore, Sardinian Pastoral Songs Whether spontaneously in local bars, or more formally at weddings, festivals and carnivals, Sardinian men gather to sing in circles of four. The leader sings verses, expressing both traditional and contemporary issues and the other singers respond in a complex polyphony that is marked by a deep voice quality.
Belgium-France: Processional Giants and Dragons Giants and dragons in Belgium and France are gigantic effigies measuring up to nine metres tall and weighing as much as 350 kilograms. First appearing in religious processions at the end of the fourteenth century, the huge figures represent mythical animals and heroes, historical or biblical personages and contemporary characters.
Mexico: The Indigenous Festivity dedicated to the Dead Coinciding with the maize harvest, this annual festivity commemorates the transitory return to Earth of deceased relatives or loved ones. People gather at cemeteries and in churches throughout Mexico to leave flower petals, candles and offerings to celebrate and facilitate the return of the souls.
Kyrgyzstan: The Art of Akyns, Kyrgyz Epic Tellers The pre-eminent Kyrgyz epic, the Manas trilogy, is an oral encyclopaedia of Kyrgyz social values and history. Performed at seasonal ceremonies, national holidays and other social gatherings, the Manas epic continues to inspire contemporary Kyrgyz writers and composers.
Viet Nam: The Space of Gong Culture Throughout the Central Highlands of Viet Nam, Gong ensembles are part of various ceremonies and closely linked to the communities’ daily life and the cycle of the seasons. The instruments, measuring 25 to 80 centimetres, are played by men as well as women.
Malaysia: Mak Yong Theatre This theatre form, peopled with royal characters, divinities and clowns, was created by Malay people and developed in the north-west, benefiting from royal patronage. It encompasses dances, acting, and music as well as improvised monologues and dialogues, based on ancient Malay folk tales.
Cuba: La Tumba Francesa Slaves from Haiti brought the Tumba Francesa tradition to Cuba’s Oriente province in the eighteenth century, merging West African traditions with French dances and Spanish influences. The distinctive drumming that accompanies dances and songs gave the tradition its name, Tumba Francesa, the French Drum.
Philippines: The Darangen Epic of the Maranao of Lake Lanao One of the country’s three main Muslim groups, the Maranao people, express their history and their beliefs through the Daragen epic. Performed over several nights, the various episodes explore the underlying themes of life and death, courtship, love, politics and social values.
Egypt: The Al-Sirah Al-Hilaliyyah Epic The Hilali poets recount the history of a historic Bedouin tribe, adding improvised commentary to make the plot more relevant to contemporary audiences. Performances take place at weddings, circumcision ceremonies and other gatherings as well as for tourist audiences, in shortened forms.
Philippines Uwang Ahadas, a musician of the Yakan community, was declared a living human treasure by the Government of the Philippines for his excellence in playing Yakan musical instruments and his commitment in teaching a variety of them, such as the xylophone gabbang.
Mali: The Cultural Space of the Yaaral and Degal Organized by the Peul community, the Yaaral and Degal festivals mark the twice-yearly crossing of the Niger river by herds of cattle. This seasonal migration gives rise to widely appreciated and varied celebrations and expressions, such as competitions for the most beautifully decorated herd, recitations of pastoral poems and songs.
Republic of Korea: The Royal Ritual in the Jongmyo Shrine First practiced in the fourteenth century, this Confucian ritual, encompassing song, dance and music, takes place at the Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul. The core of the ceremony is the offering of food and wine by the priest, accompanied by traditional instruments and dances.
Dominican Republic: The Cultural Space of the Brotherhood of Villa Mella The brotherhood, founded in the sixteenth century by slaves of African origin, is today open to all without distinction of sex or ethnic origin. It is known for its musicians playing a particular hand drum, named Congo, a vital element of the festival of the Holy Spirit, celebrated at Pentecost.
Republic of Korea: The Pansori Epic Chant A genre of musical storytelling performed by a vocalist and a drummer, the Pansori is characterized by its expressive singing, stylized speech, repertory of narratives and distinct gestures. With revived interest in recent decades, performances increase but are less likely to include the extensive improvisation typical of the epic.
Republic of Korea: The Gangneung Danoje Festival In the city of Gangneung, the Danoje Festival encompasses shamanic rituals, traditional music, folk songs, mask drama, oral poetry and various popular pastimes. Local products and handicrafts are sold at Korea’s largest outdoor marketplace, and contests, games and circus performances take place during the Festival.
Russian Federation: The Cultural Space of the Semeiskie Living in the Transbaikal region in Siberia, the Semeiskie communities have preserved ancient orthodox rituals, various handicrafts and traditional songs and dances. Recent initiatives including the creation of the Semeiskie Cultural Centre have contributed to the revitalization of these traditions in the post-Soviet era.
Peru: Taquile and its Textile Art The island of Taquile in Titicaca lake is known for its weaving tradition preserving elements from pre-Hispanic Andean cultures. Weaving is done on fixed and pedal looms to produce characteristic garments. Taquile weaving uses new, contemporary symbols and images while retaining traditional styles and techniques.
Uzbekistan-Tajikistan: Shashmaqom Music Meaning “six maqoms,” the Shashmaqom constitutes a fusion of vocal and instrumental music, melodic and rhythmic idioms and poetry. Shashmaqom masters provide classes to trainees and amateurs at Tashkent Conservatory, contributing to the revitalization of this musical tradition.
Tonga: The Lakalaka, Dances and Sung Speeches of Tonga A blend of dances, recitations, songs and music, the Lakalaka involves up to several hundred people aligned in rows dancing in rapid and energetic movements. Practised by communities throughout the islands, it features themes related to Tongan history, legends, values and social structures.
Dominican Republic: The Cocolo Dance Drama Tradition The Cocolo dance drama, performed at Christmas and carnival festivities, developed in the Dominican Republic in the nineteenth century among English-speaking Caribbean migrant workers. Music, dance and characters of African origin are mixed with plots and figures from biblical and medieval European literature.
Turkey: The Arts of the Meddah, Public Storytellers Storytellers known as Meddah select songs and comic tales from a repertory of popular romances, legends and epics, adapting them according to the specific venue and audience. They formerly performed in caravanserais, markets, coffee-houses, mosques and churches, transmitting values and ideas among a predominantly illiterate population.
Jamaica: The Maroon Heritage of Moore Town The Maroons are descendants of runaway slaves who established free settlements in eastern Jamaica in the seventeenth century. There, they developed distinct social and religious expressions incorporating various spiritual traditions, among them a collective procession accompanied by drumbeat and the calling sound of the side-blown abeng horn.
Uzbekistan: The Cultural Space of the Boysun District Boysun, located in south-eastern Uzbekistan, is known as one of the oldest inhabited areas of Central Asia. Local people gather to practice traditional rites such as the sowing ritual, wedding ceremonies, circumcisions of boys, funeral rites, and shamanistic rituals.
Bulgaria: The Bistritsa Babi – Archaic Rituals from the Shoplouk Region In the village of Bistritsa close to the capital Sofia, elderly women keep alive polyphonic songs, dances and rituals that were the centrepiece of the region’s cultural life. Besides stage performances they actively teach these traditions to younger women and girls.
Vanuatu In Vanuatu, items such as boar tusks and stringed shell money are traditional forms of wealth. They have both cultural and economic importance, highly valued for their exchange value and social prestige. The Som, stringed shell money, is displayed during the Tamate Viov ritual dance on Mota Island.
Belarus The people of Eastern Polesye have maintained a variety of rituals and oral traditions. Many of them are linked to seasonal cycle and to religious beliefs, such as the symbolic burial of winter and other rituals, accompanied by traditional songs, celebrating the arrival of spring.
Viet Nam: Nha Nhac, Vietnamese Court Music An essential part of royal ceremonies, court music was a means of communicating with and paying tribute to the gods and kings as well as transmitting knowledge about nature and the universe. This musical tradition has been kept alive by the few surviving former court musicians.
Albania: Albanian Folk Iso-polyphony Derived from Byzantine church music, Albanian Iso-polyphony is a sophisticated form of group singing, performed mostly by men. The rise of cultural tourism and the growing interest of researchers are contributing to the revival of this unique folk tradition.
Armenia: The Dukuk and its Music An Armenian oboe, the Duduk accompanies popular songs and dances and is played at social events such as weddings, anniversaries and funerals. The Armenian Duduk is distinctive in construction and performance technique and characterized by a warm and soft timbre.
Azerbaijan: The Azerbaijani Mugham Like the Mugham sung elsewhere in the region, the Azerbaijani Mugham is characterized by a high degree of improvisation in singing and playing. Today, master practitioners train students in the fine art of interpretation to ensure the variety of this artistic expression.
Czech Republic: Slovácko Verbŭnk, Recruit Dances The Slovácko Verbunk is performed by Moravian men of all ages. The dance is marked by spontaneity and individual expression, including competitive elements such as jumping contests. The variety of movements makes Slovácko Verbunk a cultural expression of high artistic value.
Romania: The Căluş Ritual Performed by male dancers of southern Romania to the accompaniment of two violins and an accordion, the Calus ritual features a series of games, skits, songs and dances. The dancers, believed to be endowed with magical healing powers, go from house to house, promising good health and prosperity to the villagers.
Slovakia: The Fujara and its Music The Fujara flute was traditionally played by Slovak shepherds as an entertainment and a means of communication. Its extreme length and specific blowing techniques generate the unique Fujara sound, characterized by deep mumbling tones and very high overtones. The instrument is also an artefact of great artistic value with its highly elaborate, individual ornamentation.
Spain: The Mystery Play of Elche Performed in the Basilica de Santa Maria and in the streets of the city of Elche, the play is a religious musical drama about the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This highly popular festivity is a living testimony of European medieval religious theatre and of the cult of the Virgin.
Belize-Guatemala-Honduras-Nicaragua: Music of the Garifuna The Garifuna communities, spread over Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, have kept alive their common language, oral traditions, music and dances. Although still practiced on various occasions, these are changing considerably as the Garifuna language is less often spoken.
Bolivia: The Carnival of Oruro The main event of the Oruro Carnival is a procession of thousands of dancers and musicians. The sumptuous costumes, beautifully painted masks, folk dances and songs bear witness to the influence of indigenous and Spanish cultures.
Brazil: The Samba de Roda of Recôncavo of Bahia A blend of African and Portuguese cultures, the Samba de Roda is practiced in spontaneous settings, popular or religious festivities. Performers – generally women – assemble in a circle, the roda, each one taking her turn dancing to the accompaniment of singing and handclapping.
Ecuador-Peru: The Oral Heritage of the Zápara People The Zápara communities in the Amazon have developed a complex oral culture expressed through their myths, rituals, artistic and medical practices. Their traditions are deeply marked by their environment and reflect a profound knowledge of the Amazonian jungle.
Uzbekistan Uzbek potters used special techniques for producing the famous bluecoloured glaze to decorate vessels and tiles. Many sacred monuments in the city of Samarkand, the ancient centre of this art, memorialize this century-old tradition. Improved equipment and training workshops have helped ceramic masters to maintain their traditions and hand down their knowledge to younger generations.
Nicaragua: El Güegüense Popular throughout Nicaragua, the El Güegüense is a satirical street drama accompanied by music and dance, developed in the eighteenth century. The beautifully costumed and masked protagonist, El Güegüe, cleverly uses verbal artistry in Spanish, Basque and Nahuatl, an Amerindian language, to demonstrate subservience to the colonial authorities while ridiculing them.