Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 15.COM 8.B.15

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Argentina has nominated Chamamé (no. 01600) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Chamamé is a form of popular cultural expression that is mainly practised in the Corrientes province. Its key components include a style of ‘close embrace’ dancing where participants hold each other chest to chest and follow the music without set choreography. Other elements include musiqueada, a celebratory act that includes a party, prayer and sapukay, a typical phonation or cry accompanied by gestures and movements to convey emotions such as joy, sadness, pain, and bravery. The violin and vihuela were the original instruments used in Chamamé music, but the guitar, harmonica, two-row diatonic button accordion, bandoneon and double bass were later incorporated. The singing is rooted in worship songs. Historically, lyrics and poetry were in Guarani, the regional native language, but today, oral traditions are transmitted in the yopará dialect, a combination of Spanish and Guarani. Chamamé music and dancing are an important part of the regional identity and play major social roles as they are common features of community and family gatherings, religious celebrations, and other festive events. Chamamé highlights values such as love for one’s land, local fauna and flora, religious devotion and a ‘way of being,’ a Guarani expression pointing to the harmony between the human, natural and spiritual realms.

  1. Considers 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:   Chamamé has been transmitted through the generations orally, especially in family environments but also in community and public settings. The file adequately describes and distinguishes several types of people involved in Chamamé, drawing a distinction between the 'practising community' and the much broader Chamamé community. As a vital element of the communities' identities, the practice encourages the use and preservation of the Guarani language, and serves as a means to convey pain, joy or other emotions through Sapukay, which reflects on the various situations of everyday life. The file shows how Chamamé is an inclusive practice, bringing together people of all ages, genders and social statuses in the region.

R.2:   The inscription of Chamamé would resonate at the local, national and international levels by strengthening the importance of music, dance, festive gatherings and rituals. At the same time, the inscription would also help ensure the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general. It would contribute to intergenerational dialogue and to the sense of community and cross-border identity. It may further contribute to the appreciation of cultural diversity and tolerance by young people, showing human creativity in musical expressions and poetry.

R.3:   The nomination proposes a wide variety of safeguarding measures, including: the promotion of new spaces and the enhancement of existing ones; transmission of the related knowledge and know-how; informal education; promotional and preservation activities; support for the creation of new music productions; and research and identification measures. The State Party’s support for the proposed safeguarding measures is coherently planned. The participation of the groups and communities concerned in the process of designing the safeguarding measures is also well explained.

R.4:   The community of bearers and practitioners of Chamamé (musicians, composers, poets, dancers, performers, artisans and teachers, among others) actively participated in the preparation of the nomination. To this end, ‘Spaces for Dialogue and Reflection’ and ‘Workshops on Safeguarding Measures’ were organized. Letters of consent provided by these communities are included.

R.5:   The element was formally included in the Registry of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Province of Corrientes in 2017, which is managed by the Institute of Culture of the Province of Corrientes. The Registry is updated annually. The identification and definition process was carried out with the representative participation of men and women of the Chamamé community through the joint organization of participatory workshops with municipalities, coordinated by the team formed by the Corrientes Culture Institute.

  1. Decides to inscribe Chamamé on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;

  2. Commends the State Party for the submission of an improved file following the decision of the Committee to refer the nomination in 2018, including a demonstration of how the inscription of Chamamé could contribute to raising awareness of intangible cultural heritage in general as well as an improved community-based methodology for the preparation of the nomination;

  3. Encourages the State Party to take particular heed of the potential impact of over-commercialization on the safeguarding of the element as a result of the inscription, which is not taken into account in the safeguarding measures proposed;

  4. Further encourages the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to avoid standardized letters of consent and to provide up-to-date letters of consent;

  5. Recalls that the inscription of an element on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity does not imply exclusivity and also encourages the State Party to remain mindful of the broader cultural context of the element in the region when implementing safeguarding measures.