Safeguarding Albanian Folk Iso-Polyphony, a UNESCO masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”
Folk Iso-Polyphony is a form of traditional music of Albania. Most of the villages and towns have an iso-polyphony band. “Iso” refers to the drone accompanying the singing. Rendered principally by male singers, it is performed during social events (weddings, harvest feast, funerals, religious celebrations, festivals, etc.). It is practised in the south of Albania and is typical for two large areas: Toskeria and Labëria. If both Tosk and Lab polyphonic songs include ballads, historic songs, lyrical songs, etc, they perform the drone differently. The Tosks perform the drone continuously and sung on the syllable “e”, while the Labs sometimes sing the drone as a rhythmic tone.
Traditionally, iso-polyphony in the southern part of Albania has been transmitted form parents to children, but large-scale migrations due to economic hardship have caused the discontinuation of this mode of transmission. The development of cultural tourism, as well us the interest of researchers, have contributed to a certain revival of the tradition, but measures need to be taken to support the promotion and revitalisation of Albanian i so-polyphony.
The Albanian folk Iso-polyphony was proclaimed in 2005, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity Following this important recognition, the Government of Japan, under the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, has decided to finance a project aiming to facilitate the safeguarding of this unique multi-voice tradition, focusing especially on its transmission of to the younger generation.
This project, based on the Action Plan elaborated by the Albanian Music Council, the Ministry of Culture and the Albanian National Commission for UNESCO and accompanying the Albanian candidature file to the Proclamation will be implemented by the Albanian Music Council, member of IMC/UNESCO, with the assistance of the Culture Section of the UNESCO-BRESCE. The objectives of this twenty-eight-month Project (December 2006 – March 2009) are to reinforce the national and local capacity for safeguarding this music, and encourage the transmission of iso-polyphony by adapting the traditional mode of transmission to modern realities.
Photo credit : Traditional Albanian polyphonic musician ©UNESCO
<hr> UNESCO - Intangible HeritageAlbanian Folk Iso-Polyphony