Projects and activities on intangible heritage in which UNESCO is involved
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Safeguarding Albanian Folk-Iso-polyphony12-2006/03-2010, Albania
- Albanian folk iso-polyphony
- © Vasil S.Tole
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.
This project contributes to the safeguarding of Albanian iso-polyphony, focusing especially on its transmission of to the younger generation.
The project’s main activity is establishing traditional iso-polyphony chambers (Oda) in four locations of Southern Albania, where masters of iso-polyphony will teach their skills to young students. Other activities include creating a register, an electronic database and a print catalogue of outstanding performers of Albanian folk iso-polyphony, delivering training to cultural workers and producing the first issues of the Iso-Polyphony Journal.
The project is intended to enhance the prestige and create a more favourable social context for the practitioners of this tradition, and to stimulate a renewed interest in iso-polyphonic music among Albanian youth.
National Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Mugam of Azerbaijan01-2006/12-2009, Azerbaijan
- Azerbaijani Mugham
- © UNESCO / David Stehl
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.
The project seeks to give an incentive to the transmission of skills and knowledge to the younger generations and to promote of the value of this living tradition among the Azerbaijani community at large, and to raise awareness of the importance of the Mugam’s safeguarding. The project focuses on:
- training of young performers and support to Masters,
- public performances,
- documentation, archive preservation and training, and (inventory) promotion and awareness raising.
The activities include in particular four series of master classes organized in major towns of Azerbaijan’s provinces, following which a summer school will be organised in Baku. In the capital, a series of concerts are organised in various locations of Icheri Sheher, Baku’s Old Town in order to help re-establish such Mugam performances in a small and intimate setting. In addition, support will be provided to the National Archives for the digitisation of old recordings which date back to as far as the beginning of the 20th century. These activities aim at ensuring the viability of the Mugam by addressing both practitioners and the audience, and at enhancing the capacities relating to documentation and archiving.
Armenian Duduk Music11-2006/04-2009, Armenia
- Duduk and its music
- © Samvel Amirkhanyan
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.
The project aims to safeguard traditional duduk music in the difficult modern social, cultural and political context in Armenia. The main components of the project are: (i) training and transmission of skills and know-how; (ii) documentation and inventorying; and (iii) public awareness-raising. The planned activities include organizing master classes in a number of provincial schools, publishing a Practical manual for players, makers, and students of the duduk, compiling an Inventory of the Armenian Duduk Tradition and organizing open-air concerts. The project is intended to improve the context in which the main bearers of the tradition – the duduk players – evolve, and to give rise to a renewed interest in duduk music among the Armenian public.
- Summary description of the project (English)
Safeguarding Shashmaqom, the Classical Music of Central Asia01-2005/10-2007, Tajikistan
- Shashmaqom music
- © Otanazar Mat’vakubov
Le projet prévoit la production de documents audiovisuels (sous forme numérique) sur le shashmaqom par une équipe de spécialistes, de scientifiques et de musicologues dans les deux pays, la publication d’études scientifiques, l’organisation conjointe par les deux pays de conférences, d’expositions et de festivals et une aide aux facteurs reconnus d’instruments de musique. Des cours publics seront en outre organisés dans les deux pays pour assurer la transmission des techniques vocales et instrumentales traditionnelles.
Les résultats escomptés à la fin du projet sont les suivants: renforcement des compétences locales dans le domaine de la recherche, de l’enregistrement et de la production de documents audiovisuels; mise en place à l’échelle locale, nationale et internationale de réseaux de spécialistes, de musiciens et d’institutions s’intéressant au shashmaqom et à d’autres formes de maqoms, et promotion de relations durables dans ce domaine.
Safeguarding the Yukaghir Language and Oral Traditions2007, Russian Federation
- Sharing traditional Yukagir knowledge
- © UNESCO
Before this project, the language of the Yukagir was spoken fluently by only seventeen people. As a result, the oral and linguistic traditions of this ethnicy community in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) of the Russian Federation were severely endangered. With assistance from UNESCO, the Education Ministry of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Institute of the Indigenous Peoples of the North of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences undertook to promote the transmission of Yukagir oral traditions to youth and digitize the language and cultural materials, facilitating both transmission and preservation.
- Yukagir students attend a master class in language and oral heritage
- © UNESCO
The project involved four distinct activites:
- Organizing master classes led by native speakers to preserve oral intangible culture,
- Creating resource centers in schools that involve youth in the recording of traditional culture,
- Developing multimedia and electronic teaching aids and
- Digitizing Yukagir sources stored in state and private archives in a new inventory of the Yukagir oral intangible heritage
Active and enthusiastic engagement in this project by Yukagir of all ages means that the work of safeguarding their culture will continue through formal and informal education, preserving diversity and fostering pride in the Yukagir ethnic identity.
Safeguarding and Promotion of Georgian Traditional Polyphony07-2003/02-2006, Georgia
- Georgian polyphonic singing
- © UNESCO/Anahit Minasyan
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.
The project enabled not only the promotion of research and documentation on traditional polyphony, but also its transmission to younger generations. The Research Centre on Traditional Polyphony (RCTP) produced a number of publications, organized training courses for collectors, teachers and students of polyphony and created an audio-visual inventory of traditional Georgian polyphony. An international symposium under the patronage of the president of the Republic was held to raise awareness of Georgian traditional polyphony both inside and outside the country. It also helped to develop exchange and cooperation with various international organizations, institutes, associations and universities studying folk music.
To date, seven Youth Folk Song Centres have been established in different Georgian provinces. At each of these centres, an elderly master ensures the transmission of the local polyphonic tradition to about ten young people for each Centre.
- Summary description of the project (English)
The Safeguarding and Revitalization of Lithuanian Cross Crafting and Its Symbolism: Phase I of the Action Plan04-2003/05-2005, Lithuania
- Cross-crafting and its symbolism
- © 2002 by Ramūnas Virkutis/Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre
Cross-crafting in Lithuania includes making crosses and altars and performing the rituals consecrating those crosses. Placed on roadsides at village entrances, near monuments and in cemeteries, and linked to Catholic ceremonies and harvest celebrations, crosses are a symbol of the unity of the community.
Under this project, both cross crafting practitioners and data collectors were trained with the help of experts from the Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre. Furthermore, the National Centre for the Safeguarding and Revitalization of Cross Crafting Traditions, established under the project, has provided work facilities for young craftsmen as well as training in traditional techniques, while introducing them to the symbolism and function of Lithuanian crosses in the past and present.
The project contributed to the development and reinforcement of research networks, facilitated coordination among relevant institutions and practitioners, and increased awareness among Lithuanians of the significance of cross crafting and its associated symbolism.
Safeguarding endangered languages of indigenous peoples of Siberia2005, Russian Federation
With nearly thirty endangered languages spoken only in Siberia, the region’s once-vibrant linguistic diversity is seriously threatened. This project pooled the resources of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the UNESCO Moscow Office of Siberia to establish a framework for protecting and reviving these languages.
The focal point for the project was a round table held on 27 and 28 October 2005 with the participation of experts in linguistics, ethnology and anthropology, teachers of the native Siberian languages, researchers from Siberian institutions and UNESCO intangible cultural heritage experts. The participants assembled extensive data and worked out basic principles for monitoring and safeguarding the threatened languages of Siberian peoples.
A series of related projects followed the round table, including:
- A bilingual English/Russian database on endangered languages in Siberia,
- A database of ongoing and completed documentation or education projects,
- A DVD entitled ‘Endangered Languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia’ to educate the public about this issue and
- An internet portal featuring the new databases, forums and technical information for experts.
Further information is available online at http://lingsib.unesco.ru/en/. The website will continue to disseminate information and serve as a forum for discussion about the safeguarding of endangered Siberian languages.