Al-Taghrooda, traditional Bedouin chanted poetry in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Country(ies): United Arab Emirates, Oman
- Al-Taghrooda, traditional Bedouin chanted poetry in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman
Al-Taghrooda traditional Bedouin chanted poetry is composed and recited by men travelling on camelback through desert areas of the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. Bedouins believe that chanting entertains the riders and stimulates animals to walk in time. Short poems of seven lines or less are improvised and repeated between two groups of riders often as antiphonal singing. Generally the lead singer chants the first verse and the second group responds. Poems are also chanted around campfires, at weddings, and at tribal and national festivities, particularly camel races, and some Bedouin women compose and chant while engaged in collective work. The most important aspect is the social bonding during the oral exchange of verses. Themes include sending messages to loved ones, relatives, friends or tribal chiefs. It is also a medium for the poet to pass comment on social issues. Other functions include settlement of disputes among individuals or tribes, highlighting historical achievements, and contemporary themes such as good driving practice and health issues. Performances also provide a chance for audiences to learn about their past history and have a glimpse of their traditional way of life. The ability to compose and chant poems is transmitted through the family and by community elders.
Decision 7.COM 11.34
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: Transmitted from generation to generation in the family context or through formal education, Al-Taghrooda poetry cements interpersonal, intergenerational and intercommunity lines across the United Arab Emirates and Oman;
- R.2: Inscription of Al-Taghrooda on the Representative List could raise awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage while encouraging intercultural dialogue, particularly between communities performing similar practices;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures aim to protect and promote Al-Taghrooda through research, training, dissemination and promotion; they are concretely described and well supported, indicating the will and commitment both of the submitting States and of the communities to safeguard this practice;
- R.4: Several practitioners were widely consulted and participated in the nomination process of Al-Taghrooda and granted their free, prior, and informed consent to its inscription; no customary practices restricting access to the practice exist;
- R.5: Al-Taghrooda is included in inventories in both submitting States drawn up with the participation of communities, groups and relevant non-governmental organizations and regularly updated, in conformity with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention.
Inscribes Al-Taghrooda, traditional Bedouin chanted poetry in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© @ADACH 2011
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website