Bećarac singing and playing from Eastern Croatia
Inscribed in 2011 (6.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Bećarac singing and playing from Eastern Croatia
Bećarac is a popular genre of music in eastern Croatia deeply rooted in the cultures of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem. Communication among its performers is essential: lead singers interchange vocal lines, striving to out-sing one another while creating, emulating and combining decasyllabic verses and shaping the melody – all the while accompanied by a group of singers and tambura bands. The music conveys community values, but also enables singers to express thoughts and feelings that might be inappropriate if uttered directly or in other contexts. Each lead singer shapes his or her performance according to the context, with the performance lasting as long as the creativity and energy of the singers permit. Lead singers must possess both a powerful voice and a wide repertoire of old and new couplets, and be apt, quick and clever in choosing and combining them. Nowadays, men and women are almost equally represented among tradition bearers. The Bećarac is spread widely throughout eastern Croatian communities and remains part of living practice – whether in completely informal situations of music-making or in contemporary festive events and celebrations. Many sub-types of Bećarac also exist, in addition to particularities introduced by lead singers. Bećarac is therefore an extraordinarily vivid, dynamic genre that is recreated in each performance.
Decision 6.COM 13.10
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Recreated dynamically by its bearers at the moment of performance, Bećarac is transmitted from generation to generation and provides its community with a sense of identity and continuity;
- R.2: The inscription of Bećarac on the Representative List, as an expression that depends on close communication among its performers, could contribute particularly to intercultural dialogue, both within the region and more widely;
- R.3: The ongoing and proposed safeguarding measures, including publications, financial support and the hosting of festivals and seminars, indicate the commitment of the communities and the State to ensure the protection and promotion of the Bećarac tradition;
- R.4: A significant number of Several Bećarac singers, associations and cultural clubs were contacted and several, whose free, prior and informed consent is demonstrated, cooperated in the elaboration of the nomination;
- R.5: Bećarac singing and playing were included with the cooperation of the community in 2007 in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
Inscribes Bećarac singing and playing from Eastern Croatia on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2008 by Ministry of culture
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website