Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.6

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Bulgaria has nominated Visoko multipart singing from Dolen and Satovcha, South-western Bulgaria (no. 00967) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Visoko is a traditional practice of multipart singing that is unique to the Bulgarian villages of Dolen and Satovcha in the Blagoevgrad region. There are three types of multipart songs typical of Visoko: low-pitched, high-pitched and a combination of the two. Low-pitched singing consists of sustained singing by two vocal parts. High-pitched singing also includes two vocal parts, but is characterized by repeated outcries from both voices, an octave above the basic tone. These outcries are followed by a downwards slide and a recitative uttering of the lyrics in the low register. The third type of Visoko song entails a combination of low-pitched and high-pitched singing, with all four vocal parts. Visoko lyrics typically evoke nature. In the past, Visoko songs, also known as summer songs, were sung outdoors by women working in the fields. While hoeing or harvesting, a group of women called out Visoko songs from one field, and a second group replied from another. Today, the main performers of Visoko are women and girls in singing groups from community centres in the two villages. This high-pitched multipart singing is a key identity marker for the Dolen and Satovcha communities. It is a cherished tradition that distinguishes them from neighbouring villages.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, and the information provided by the submitting State through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1: The element refers to a particular form of multipart singing associated with the vocal traditions of Dolen and Satovcha villages in Bulgaria. Transmission is ensured through two singing groups of women and girls who participate in rehearsals three to four times per week to study new songs and to refine their singing. Visoko singing is emblematic of local musical practice and creates a sense of community among singers in the groups, while strengthening social ties between the singers and their audiences. The file accounts for the evolution and transformation of the element from its origins as songs of agricultural work to a contemporary vocal art performed by singing groups.

R.2: At the local level, the inscription of the element would highlight the Visoko singing tradition and stimulate further safeguarding efforts. At the national level, the singing groups from Dolen and Satovcha would be able to popularize and raise awareness about the messages and principles of the 2003 Convention. Internationally, there will be worldwide awareness about this local vocal practice. Inscription will enhance communication among different ethnic groups, communities and generations of singers, their families and bearers of the element.

R.3:  The file outlines a set of safeguarding measures including the popularization of the element through research and publications and outlines the community's proposed participation. In the village kindergarten and schools, children singing groups of Visoko are led by teachers and local performers. Workshops and summer practices have also been initiated by the municipality, cultural centres and schools in the two villages. They involve local performers and students of Visoko singing and rely on partnerships with universities and music schools in the country. Popularization outside the two villages will be sustained by Visoko groups and national media. Research by young scholars and students will also be ongoing.

R.4: The preparation of the nomination was initiated by the community in Satovcha, while the Dolen community was involved throughout the nomination process through meetings organized with bearers and practitioners from these villages. The local community played a key role in gathering documentation and selecting archive materials during the preparation of the nomination file. Communities of both villages gave their free, prior and informed consent for the nomination. According to the file, there is no restriction or secrecy associated with access to the element.

R.5: The element is included in Living Human Treasures-Bulgaria which has the function of the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is also included in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Bulgaria, which is administered by the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The inventory is updated every two years on the basis of requests submitted by communities for including elements in national and regional lists.

  1. Decides to inscribe Visoko multipart singing from Dolen and Satovcha, South-western Bulgaria on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.