Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.11

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Ecuador has nominated Pasillo, song and poetry (no. 01702) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The pasillo is a type of music and dance that emerged in Ecuador in the nineteenth century, during the South American independence wars. It is a fusion of elements of indigenous music, such as the yaraví, with a complex variety of musical genres including the waltz, the minuet and the Spanish bolero. The pasillo, which means ‘small step’, is danced in short steps by a couple. A product of urban culture, it is performed in ballroom dances, public ceremonies, festivals, radio and television programmes, and outdoor concerts. It is a dynamic, ever-evolving practice that can be performed by soloists, duos, trios and ensembles. Usually accompanied by guitars and the requinto, a high-pitched guitar, it is essentially a musicalized poem, with lyrics relating to love, heartbreak, life, death, family, homeland and the daily life of the people. To Ecuadorians, the pasillo is an identity marker and a symbol of their connection with the homeland, and with time, has become a form of collective expression. The music is performed by men and women and transmitted from generation to generation within families, in formal training centres, and through street musicians and popular or municipal bands.

  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:  Pasillo is a musicalized poem whose practitioners are authors, composers and performers. They are accompanied by guitars, requintos, bandolins, harps and pianos, depending on the context. Knowledge and skills are transmitted orally from generation to generation in families, neighbourhoods and public spaces. There are also music schools where the practice is taught formally. The element is a source of social cohesion, strengthens a sense of belonging to the homeland, and fosters family unity. It also supports the cultural sector and contributes to sustainable development.

R.2:  At the local and national levels, inscription would encourage the development of additional cultural spaces and musical events and support performers and artisans. It will trigger the creation of new schools for the teaching of the element, while raising awareness about the element and intangible cultural heritage in general and guaranteeing the exercise of the cultural rights of communities. Moreover, the contribution that this nomination would make at the international level is demonstrated with reference to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and notably to the sustainable development goals on poverty reduction and on sustainable cities. It will furthermore draw global attention to a musical genre with roots in the Andean music of Ecuador.

R.3: The file outlines past and current safeguarding initiatives that have been carried out by practitioners, families, institutions and government entities. The safeguarding measures proposed in the areas of transmission, promotion and research follow a ‘mixed management model’, whereby the State entities responsible for safeguarding living heritage become facilitators and coordinate safeguarding actions with the bearers and communities concerned. Strong participation, including of relevant communities, groups and individuals, is evident in the development of the proposed measures and their anticipated implementation.

R.4: The file demonstrates an inclusive process, from the inscription of the element on the National Representative List to the preparation of the nomination file. Workshops, meetings and seminars were held ensuring the widest possible participation of the community. The letters of consent and signatures corroborate this wide participation.

R.5: The element is inventoried in the Ecuador Cultural Heritage Information System, which is administered by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage of Ecuador. Variations of the element, based on location, were inscribed at different times between 2014 and 2018. The file demonstrates the role of the communities, groups and individuals concerned with the element in the identification, definition and inscription of the element on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Ecuador. The information system is updated and led by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, working in collaboration with the communities.

  1. Decides to inscribe Pasillo, song and poetry on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and invites it to include detailed information in its next periodic report on the implementation of the Convention at the national level concerning the periodicity of updating of the Ecuador Cultural Heritage Information System, in accordance with Article 12.1 of the Convention;
  3. Commends the State Party for a file that can serve as a good example of how the inscription of an element on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity can contribute to ensuring the visibility and awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage in general;
  4. Further commends the State Party on the proposal of safeguarding measures involving community actors and the State through a ‘mixed management model’;
  5. Further reminds the State Party to take particular heed of the potential unintended impacts of inscription on the safeguarding of the element.