12.COM 11.B.29

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Slovakia has nominated Multipart singing of Horehronie (No. 01266) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Multipart Singing of Horehronie is characterized by a variable solo melody of pre-singing and more static choir answers, either by men or women. The singing culminates in intertwined parallel melodies with rich variations, consisting of two or three parts; each section presents a variation of the initial melodic formula. The song genres are associated with agricultural work, the family cycle and calendric events, and new songs arise in response to social events affecting people’s lives. The bearers and practitioners are the inhabitants of the villages in question as well as the broader public. The folk multipart singing is perceived as a characteristic local phenomenon, which provides an opportunity for relaxing and socializing as a group, contributes to overall social cohesion and gives people a sense of pride in their local tradition. Bearers endorse the element by practising it and using it in regular cross-generational exchanges, and its viability is manifested through spontaneous singing during celebrations and ceremonies, church performances, local festivals and singing and dancing workshops. The practice is transmitted from generation to generation mainly in family circles, as well as through informal education and thanks to the efforts of local folklore groups, local municipalities and individual singers.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   Multipart singing of Horehronie is a collective artistic expression. The songs are inspired by local professional activities, family events, various celebrations and social situations in everyday life such as weddings, baptisms, funerals and Christmas. The element is transmitted from generation to generation within families and local folklore groups through informal education. While some songs are influenced by religious traditions, they also serve entertainment purposes. Both children and adult groups are included in festivals. The songs express the collective heritage of the communities, and link singers – including community members who migrate – with their villages or regions. Thanks to its improvisational character and capacity to react to and mirror natural conditions and social changes, the element is an example of the vivid practice of a tradition that raises awareness in communities about themes linked to sustainable development.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would contribute to raising public interest in intangible cultural heritage in general, both in Slovakia and beyond. As the practice of multipart singing is socially inclusive and characterized by improvisation and diverse interpretations, its inscription would promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. There is a constant demand for the element during official and unofficial occasions, which attests to a broad public awareness. The inscription is also expected to lead to improved communication with the Roma community in the region, since they are among the bearers of the element. Moreover, given that multipart singing serves as an inspiration for other contemporary musical and theatrical expressions, its inscription could initiate human creativity in various art forms.

R.3:   The State Party has developed a comprehensive set of safeguarding measures focused on public support for research, documentation, education and monitoring. Grant schemes are available at the Ministry of Culture to support children’s folklore ensembles, awareness raising by the media, the organization of festivals and national competitions, the publication of audio recordings and activities aimed at supporting the element in its environment. The element is being incorporated into the formal educational system, from primary schools to university curricula. Professional institutions, such as the Slovak Arts Council, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Centre and the Central Slovakia Cultural Center also provide measures of support. The communities, municipalities, folklore groups, experts and individuals concerned are involved in implementing the safeguarding measures. The State Party has also indicated the measures proposed to help ensure that the element’s viability is not jeopardized in the future.

R.4:   The initiative to inscribe this element on the Representative List came from the members of the Civic Association Opora Pohorelá in 2014. Practitioners of the element, as well as representatives of the municipalities concerned, civic associations, folklore groups, national institutions and an expert in ethnomusicology all participated in the nomination process. They provided their free, prior and informed consent in written form as well as in the short video. Volunteers collected the consents. There are no customary practices that restrict access to the element.

R.5:   The element was included in the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovakia in 2016. The inventory is part of the Programme of Care for the Traditional Folk Culture carried out by the Ministry of Culture. Proposals for the inscription of elements were made with the active participation of the communities, groups, individuals and non-governmental organizations concerned. The List is updated regularly, with the last update made in 2015. The Intangible Cultural Heritage Centre is the specialized agency that coordinates and administers the inventory.

  1. Inscribes Multipart singing of Horehronie on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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