Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 13.COM 10.b.1

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Argentina has nominated Chamamé (No. 01363) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Chamamé, a musical genre that has its origins in the province of Corrientes, is the product of a cultural symbiosis marked by Guaraní, African-American and European elements. Chamamé culture incorporates a variety of elements, including: a dance performed by dance partners with no set choreography; ‘musiqueada’ (the social event including the party); ‘Sapukay’ (a ‘secret language’ transmitting emotions, feelings and sensations); instruments; singing rooted in songs of praise or sung prayers; costumes; and the Guaraní language. Bearers and practitioners include anyone that partakes in and attends the dance gatherings, from musicians to composers, tailors, poets, researchers and Guaraní language experts, among others. Chamamé is danced, played and enjoyed by people from all social spheres and generations during family, civic, popular and religious celebrations and festivals, in cultural venues including ‘enramadas’ (yards covered with branches) and ‘bailantas’ (open-air spaces). It encourages communication in Guaraní and expresses pain, joy and other emotions through the Sapukay (the original Guaraní call), which accompanies the different circumstances of life. Over the years, the genre has reached different social spaces despite being an ancestral practice, and the National Chamamé Festival is one of the most significant, popular celebrations within the genre.

  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:   As a complex cultural expression, Chamamé merges several cultural traditions, elements and features in a particular artistic style and brings together people of different cultures, generations, religions and social classes. Men and women partake in the practice in an active, complementary manner and the dance, music and social events involved express friendship, religious devotion and attachment to the local region, contributing to the shared identity of the inhabitants of Corrientes province.

R.3:   A wide range of safeguarding measures is proposed, including the repair and maintenance of musical instruments through state grants and loans, the integration of Chamamé into formal and academic education, support for new musical productions, museum exhibitions, cultural centers, an interpretation center in Corrientes and many others. The provincial government has supported the safeguarding efforts through the creation of a favorable legal framework and funding and practitioners participated in the planning process during a series of public meetings and workshops.

  1. Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are satisfied:

R.2:   The Chamamé community is large, comprising people of different backgrounds with a shared history. The element embodies dialogue primarily within the community but also beyond national borders through emigrants. Modern technologies have facilitated networking. However, the file fails to demonstrate how the inscription of Chamamé could contribute to raising awareness of intangible cultural heritage in general; it concentrates exclusively on increasing the visibility of the element itself, while making inappropriate references to its uniqueness.

R.4:   The nomination states that it was prepared in collaboration with the communities concerned and other stakeholders, including NGOs and governmental authorities, and members of the community concerned expressed their consent to the nomination during a series of workshops and via a dedicated website. However, although the file claims that a large number of signatures were collected, only four of them are attached to the file, without any reference to the individuals who signed them. A long list of different meetings related to the nomination process is provided, but there is no information about their nature or that of the community’s involvement. A clear statement concerning customary practices governing access to this element is also missing.

R.5:   The nomination file indicates that the element has been included in the Registry of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Province of Corrientes. However, the information contained in different parts of Section 5 is incoherent and refers to different mechanisms, including several laws and the List of Intangible Heritage of MERCOSUR. Basic information such as the date of inclusion or how the inventory is regularly updated is missing. Based on the information provided, it is not possible to assess whether Chamamé is included in an inventory in compliance with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Chamamé to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
  2. Recognizes the hard work and commitment of the associate communities and related institutions in the elaboration of the file, and looks forward to a future consideration of the file;
  3. Reminds the State Party, should it wish to resubmit the nomination during a following cycle, of the need to provide information in the appropriate sections within the file;
  4. Further invites the State Party to avoid the use of inappropriate vocabulary and concepts when referring to intangible cultural heritage, such as ‘unique’, ‘original’ or ‘hierarchy’, which are contrary to the living and dynamic nature of intangible cultural heritage as defined under Article 2.1 of the Convention.