Benefitting country(ies): Togo
The last general inventory of the intangible cultural heritage, drawn up in 2011 in Togo, revealed some important principles and skills that had not yet been adequately documented; more intensive efforts to introduce and implement safeguarding measures were therefore required. A major gap in the inventory included the skills needed to manufacture and play traditional musical instruments and for their accompanying dances, for which certain communities, including the villages of Yohonou and Amégran (south Togo), had called for the implementation of a safeguarding strategy. Indeed, the viability of the majority of these musical practices and the skills involved in manufacturing the instruments are at risk because the custom of handing them down to the next generation is under threat. As a result, there has been a gradual decline in the traditional dances performed and instruments played during traditional ceremonies. In this context, the project ‘Inventory, safeguarding and promoting knowledge of how to manufacture and play Togo’s traditional musical instruments (Pilot phase in the Maritime region, south Togo)’, financed by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and implemented by Togo in 2016, aimed at safeguarding and promoting the skills needed to manufacture and play traditional musical instruments in the communities by ensuring that the practices associated with them live on. The project allowed an inventory to be compiled, with a focus on describing and categorizing these instruments, the manufacturing process, and their socio-cultural functions. The process of compiling the inventories involved young people from local communities who were specially trained in community-based inventorying. The project’s findings were recorded using audiovisual media and in an illustrated index for use by researchers and other participants. A local exhibition documenting these cultural activities as well as cultural events was organized in the region in view of raising awareness in the general public. The project introduced activities designed to inspire communities to pass on customs from generation to generation by ensuring that skilled community members help to train the young instrument makers and musicians. This project represented a pilot phase and its results will be used as a basis to develop a project across the country.
News and activities:
- 2017-03-11 – Young people from South Togo rediscover traditional musical instruments
- 2015-10-19 – The Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund supports various safeguarding measures in Africa!
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