Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry
Al ‘azi is a genre of sung poetry performed in the northern regions of the Sultanate of Oman. It constitutes one of the major expressions of Omani cultural and musical identity. It takes the form of a poetry contest punctuated by sword and step movements and poetic exchanges between a singer poet and a choir. It may involve a large number of participants from one village or tribe, guided by the poet who recites improvised and memorized poems in Arabic. The performers must pay attention to his movements and recitation, and respond with appropriate replies and movements. The poems express pride of belonging and may eulogize the tribe, important people or historical moments. Al ‘azi enriches the cultural and intellectual side of the community through creative reinvention of existing poems, and plays a great role in conserving society’s oral memory. It also promotes unity and communication and emphasizes the need to overcome disagreements between members of society. Al ‘azi is performed at all national and social occasions as an emblem of social pride, strength and unity. At present it is practised by over a hundred ensembles.
Decision 7.COM 11.25
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: Al ‘azi promotes values of solidarity, unity and equality among different social groups, conferring on its bearers and practitioners a sense of identity and pride as Bedouins;
- R.2: Inscription of Al ‘azi on the Representative List could contribute to promoting visibility of the intangible cultural heritage while encouraging human creativity and cultural diversity;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures that include documentation, awareness raising and training were elaborated in order to encourage the practice and transmission of AI ‘azi;
- R.4: During their participation in the elaboration of the nomination, leading practitioners and groups of Al ‘azi provided evidence of their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: AI ‘azi is included in the Oman Heritage Representative List directory maintained by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Division of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture;
Inscribes Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2009 Oman Ministry of Information
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