13.COM 10.B.9

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Croatia has nominated Međimurska popevka, a folksong from Međimurje (No. 01396) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Međimurska popevka, a folksong from the Međimurje region, in the north-western part of Croatia, was historically predominantly a soloist vocal genre practised by women. Nowadays, it is performed by individuals and groups, men and women, in vocal, vocal-instrumental, instrumental, monophonic and multipart renditions, as a musical genre or incorporated into the dance. The lyrics are of great importance and establish a basis for the classification into, among others, love, sad-melancholic, humorous and church popevkas. The most active bearers are mostly members of cultural-artistic societies and associations, which have a long history in the country, but individual singers also play a key role as nuanced soloist renditions are typical for popevka. The element is practised in a broad range of social contexts, from solitary music-making to family and community happenings, work gatherings, religious events, and performances within and outside of Međimurje. The average inhabitants have all experienced popevka in numerous situations throughout their lives and are encouraged to join the music-making on such occasions. There are currently around fifty singers regarded as masters of the art for their transmission of classical merits of the genre and their capacity to imbue it with personal expressions, and women often serve as mentors in transmitting the practice to younger generations.

  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:   Međimurska popevka is a natural, regular part of the everyday lives of inhabitants of the Međimurje region, accompanying day-to-day activities as well as festive and ceremonial events. The musical and textual features of popevka are closely related to its environment of origin. It is a cornerstone of the identity of Međimurje and plays an important social role for the local communities. As a living tradition, the element has evolved in terms of performance styles and performers’ gender. However, women remain the central tradition bearers, bearing primary responsibility for the transmission of the element.

R.2:   In its richness and variability, Međimurska popevka represents values shared and common to intangible cultural heritage in general. In particular, it concerns the meaning of life and wisdom that can only be transmitted through music. The historical development, gender, generational and social dynamics of the element change constantly, and it serves as a source of inspiration for different musical genres, including classical and world music. It therefore reflects human creativity and could contribute to cultural diversity and dialogue.

R.3:   The safeguarding plan draws on measures developed in the past and concentrates on community-driven educational activities, continuous field research and the systematic archiving of the collected material. The element is also considered in the wider context of intangible cultural heritage in the region. The proposed media campaign would raise awareness about collective creativity and intellectual rights. An enhanced inclusion of intangible cultural heritage-related content in the formal educational system and extra-curricular activities for children is expected.

R.4:   All the major stakeholders, including individual tradition bearers, representatives of fifteen related associations, the Alliance of Croatian Cultural Associations of Međimurje County, several NGOs engaged in safeguarding, representatives of municipalities, Međimurje County and the media worked on the nomination file together with the researchers and experts from the Ministry of Culture. A number of letters of consent from community members and different stakeholders accompanied by personal confessions document the significance of the element for its bearers and all of society in Međimurje.

R.5:   Since 2013, Međimurska popevka has been included in the Register of Cultural Goods of Croatia, maintained by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia. The proposal for the inclusion of Međimurska popevka was prepared and submitted by the tradition bearers. The state of the cultural elements listed is regularly monitored and the entries are revisited and revised at least once every five years, either at the request of the tradition bearers or following an assessment by the managing department.

  1. Inscribes Međimurska popevka, a folksong from Međimurje on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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