The master Kong Nai teaches his grandson how to play the Chapeai Dang Veng at his house, Kampot province
© Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Cambodia, 2015
29 November 2016

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) — The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage today inscribed the Chapei Dang Veng from Cambodia on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding helps States mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of inscribed cultural practices with the participation of the communities concerned.

Chapei Dang Veng is a Cambodian musical tradition associated with the life, customs and beliefs of Cambodian people. It features the chapei (a lute often played at cultural festivals) accompanied by the performer singing, with lyrics ranging from educational and social commentary to satire incorporating poems, folk tales or Buddhist stories. Transmitting knowledge and values; creating a space for commentary; and contributing to peacebuilding the tradition transmitted orally may soon disappear with few practitioners left due to the actions of the former Khmer Rouge regime.

The Committee also approved Cambodia’s request for financial support of $230,000 (USD), in order to implement the safeguarding plan. There are only two surviving great masters of the chapei, but they do not practice it actively because of their age. The safeguarding plan submitted by Cambodia, in consultation with artistic and educational organizations, includes a list of places and times when this music is practiced, the training of chapei teachers, fellowship programmes for young masters, as well as a festival.
With this inscription, the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding now has 47 elements. The Committee also examines today and tomorrow 37 applications for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.