05.12.2012 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Brazilian frevo dance is inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

he Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, gathered in Paris from 3 to 7 December 2012, decided to inscribe the Brazilian frevo dance on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The list, which features practices and expressions from all over the world, gives visibility to intangible heritage and leads to awareness about its importance as an element of cultural diversity, at once traditional, contemporary and alive.

Frevo is a unique artistic expression. It represents the wealth of the creativity and culture yielded by the combination of music, dance, capoeira, craftsmanship, among others, demonstrating the creative talent of its practitioners. Its vivid, frenetic and vigorous rhythm stems from the amalgam of several music genres such as march, Brazilian quadrilha, polka and pieces from the classical repertoire. The dance steps that follow the rhythm were originated by the talent and agility of capoeira fighters who improvised jumps and other moves to the sound of brass ensembles and popular orchestras. The element also keeps a close relationship with the beliefs and the symbolic, religious universe of its practitioners. Several associations use colors that indicate its members’ affiliation as well as ornaments with religious meanings.
Music and dance are mainly performed during the carnival in the State of Pernambuco, but communities that practice frevo dedicate themselves in the duration of the year to the development, preservation and transmission of their knowledge and practices.
The capacity to promote human creativity and respect for cultural diversity is inherent to frevo and its inscription into the Representative list strengthens the appreciation of the creative spirit of humanity, due to its openness to different individuals and communities. The inscription also recognizes the safeguarding measures for that manifestation, such as documentation as well as educational and promotion activities.
The element was accepted after an active and wide-ranging participation by the community, the associations and the groups and counted with their previous and informed consent. The communities identified and defined their heritage and frevo was included in the inventory and recognized as cultural heritage in Brazil in 2007 by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN).

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