Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Flamenco is an artistic expression fusing song (cante), dance (baile) and musicianship (toque). Andalusia in southern Spain is the heartland of Flamenco, although it also has roots in regions such as Murcia and Extremadura. Cante is the vocal expression of flamenco, sung by men and women, preferably seated, with no backing singers. The gamut of feelings and states of mind – grief, joy, tragedy, rejoicing and fear – can be expressed through sincere, expressive lyrics characterized by brevity and simplicity. Flamenco baile is a dance of passion, courtship, expressing a wide range of situations ranging from sadness to joy. The technique is complex, differing depending on whether the performer is male (heavier use of the feet) or female (gentler, more sensual movements). Toque or the art of guitar playing has long surpassed its original role as accompaniment. Other instruments, including castanets, hand-clapping and foot-stamping are also employed. Flamenco is performed during religious festivals, rituals, church ceremonies and at private celebrations. It is the badge of identity of numerous communities and groups, in particular the Gitano (Roma) ethnic community, which has played an essential role in its development. Transmission occurs through dynasties, families, social groups and Flamenco clubs, all of which play a key role in its preservation and dissemination.
Decision 5.COM 6.39
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: Flamenco is strongly rooted in its community, strengthening its cultural identity and continuing to be passed down from one generation to the next;
- R.2: The inscription of Flamenco on the Representative List could raise awareness about intangible cultural heritage, while promoting human creativity and mutual respect among communities;
- R.3: Ongoing and proposed measures demonstrate the concerted efforts of regional governments, institutions, NGOs, the communities and private persons to ensure Flamenco’s safeguarding;
- R.4: The nomination results from the active participation and commitment of the communities and the individual practitioners whose broad consensus is demonstrated by their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: Flamenco is inscribed in the General Register of Cultural Assets of the Region of Murcia established by the Directorate-General for Fine Arts and Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Region of Murcia.
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website