Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 15.COM 8.b.2

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Romania has nominated Traditional music band from Romania (no. 01594) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The traditional music band from Romania is an instrumental band formed of a minimum of three players who play the melody, harmonic arrangements and rhythmic-harmonic support on three different instruments. There can be more than three instrumentalists in the band, but the number of instruments remains the same. Two sections are emphasized: the first section sets out the melodic planes of the folkloric musical texts, while the second supports the rhythmic-harmonic accompaniment. The dulcimer, lute, first and second violin, bagpipe, accordion and harmonica can simultaneously fulfil both roles. The best bands are considered to be those which are in a direct relationship with the dancers, and if the musicians know how to dance too, this produces a harmonious connection. Traditional music bands perform at Sunday dances (the village hora) and there are also dance bands in most villages, each of which has its own cyclic repertoire, which must be accompanied by music bands. Most often, the music bands perform at weddings. Members of the traditional music bands are highly respected by their local communities thanks to their talents. The presence of music band members in the community strengthens social cohesion and contributes to intercultural harmony in localities with a multi-ethnic population.

  1. Considers 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.1:   The nomination focuses on the music band itself (as a group of people) which is often composed of family members, especially in the case of the Roma ethnic group. The members of the bands are mainly men, though women also participate, and are of all ages and various socio-professional categories. The file also states that transmission of the practice occurs either within families of musicians (in villages) or in formal frameworks, in special music schools and folk art schools (in cities). However, there is insufficient information to determine the actual scope of the element being transmitted; the defining character of the element needs to be specified in greater detail, for example in relation to its social and cultural function. Furthermore, the explanation concerning mutual respect among communities is not entirely satisfactory, especially since diverse communities are involved.

R.2:   The file does not demonstrate how the inscription of the element would contribute to ensuring the visibility and awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage in general, except for traditional music bands, nor how this would be achieved at all levels (local, national and international). Rather, the file focuses only on the visibility and awareness of the element itself.

R.3:   Past and current ways of ensuring the viability of the practice have relied on the performances of the music bands at social and cultural events, organized by individuals, local authorities, folkloric groups and non-governmental organizations. The latter also organize national and international traditional music and dance classes. State safeguarding initiatives include providing a legal framework for the recognition of intangible cultural heritage and documentation and research efforts by museums, archives and universities. The proposed safeguarding measures are presented in a structured way; however, they are formulated on a general level. Furthermore, there is insufficient information about the methodology applied to involve community members in drafting these measures.

R.4:   The file does not sufficiently demonstrate the participation of the members of the communities concerned in the nomination process. There is insufficient information on how the practitioners initiated the nomination process and how they contributed to drafting the proposed safeguarding measures. Similarly, the method of working with the bearers (members of the music bands) and the nature of their involvement in preparing the file is not sufficiently explained. With regard to the consent letters or letters of support for the nomination, it should be noted that a rather standardized form is used and that letters from the musicians themselves are not presented.

R.5:   The Traditional music band from Romania was included in the Inventory of Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Romania in March 2018. The nomination states that this inventory is updated from a quantitative and qualitative point of view. However, the periodicity and modality of updating are not specified. Furthermore, there is insufficient information regarding the involvement of the community in the identification of the music bands.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Traditional music band from Romania to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the revised nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;

  2. Encourages the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to guarantee the widest possible involvement of the communities concerned and to avoid standardized letters of consent;

  3. Recalls the importance of using vocabulary appropriate to the spirit of the Convention and of avoiding expressions such as ‘specific’ or ‘authenticity’;

  4. Further recalls the importance for the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to ensure that all nomination documents, including letters of consent, refer to the correct listing mechanism under the 2003 Convention.