Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.41

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Tajikistan has nominated Falak (no. 01725) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Falak, meaning ‘heaven’, ‘fortune’ and ‘universe’, is the traditional folklore music of the mountain people of Tajikistan. The expressive and philosophical musical genre may be performed by a male or female soloist, either acappella, or with a single instrumental accompaniment or an ensemble and dancers. Characterized by their high range, falak songs most often relate to love, pain, suffering, the homeland, and separation and the hope of reunion between a parent and a child or between two lovers. The instruments used for falak performances include traditional Tajikistani percussion and string instruments, such as violins and flutes. Falak performers, known as falakkhons, are the traditional singers and instrumentalists who perform falak during festivities, ceremonies and ritual events. However, the music may be performed in many contexts, including outdoors while working in the fields or looking after herds in the mountains, or during feasts and social gatherings. It is also performed during the annual ‘Day of Falak’ festival. Falak is viewed as a state of mind and an identity marker for the mountain communities. The tradition is passed from one generation to the next within families and through formal education.

  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:  The element’s themes range from love to sentimentalism and philosophy, and it is performed by singers of all genders, separately or within groups. It is accompanied by the flute, and string and percussion instruments. Specific roles are defined by the leaders who are responsible for monitoring the members, accepting invitations, planning activities, and managing the musical instruments and finances. Women and girls participate by dancing during performances. The element brings people together despite their age, gender, religion and ethnicity. Its practice enriches and conveys spiritual folklore heritage, particularly via the language and dialect. The element does not conflict with human rights or sustainable development principles.

R.2:  At the local level, the inscription would promote greater awareness about intangible cultural heritage in general and about the 2003 Convention, as well as encourage traditional music among the urban population and youth. It would also promote dialogue among communities, groups and individuals and support the local communities that manufacture traditional musical instruments. At the national level, it would raise awareness among the general public about intangible cultural heritage, including efforts for its promotion and safeguarding. Finally, at the international level, inscription would encourage a greater appreciation of mountainous folklore heritage concerning music, nature and human life.

R.3:  Past measures include the publication of articles and monographs, the collection of notes related to falak songs and melodies, workshops on falak led by non-governmental organizations, and the launch of a falak website. The State itself has coordinated courses on instrumental and vocal falak performances and broadcast songs, documentaries and interviews on State TV and radio channels. It has also declared a Falak Day, established the State Falak Ensemble, and organized symposiums and festive events. An extensive list of adequate measures is proposed, and the communities, groups and individuals concerned were involved in developing the proposed measures.

R.4:  The file demonstrates wide community participation in the preparation of the nomination. Effort was taken to form a working group to revise and improve the nomination file and leverage earlier efforts to have the element inscribed. The file also establishes free, prior and informed consent and includes letters of consent from family ensembles as well as from students from the National Conservatory. Letters of consent from 2020 are included in addition to letters from 2015.

R.5:  The element has been included in the National Inventory List of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2013 and is administered by the Research Institute of Culture and Information, Centre of National Heritage of Tajiks (Tajik Cultural Heritage Centre). The element was identified by the non-governmental organization Odam va Olam and was later fully documented by the Research Institute of Culture and Information. The inventory is updated every two years. The updating mechanism includes listing new elements, removing duplicated elements and updating information about existing elements.

  1. Decides to inscribe Falak 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 2017;
  3. Further commends the State Party for proposing an extensive list of safeguarding measures and encourages the State Party to develop a strategy to ensure that the measures are implemented;
  4. Reminds the State Party to take particular heed of the potential unintended impacts of inscription, such as the risk of over-commercialization, on the safeguarding of the element;
  5. Further encourages the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to ensure that information is included in its proper place.