“Art of crafting and playing Kamancha”, a bowed string musical instrument was included into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The decision was made at the12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage taking place at the Jeju Island of South Korea from December 4 to 9.
The appeal for the inclusion of kamancha in UNESCO list was jointly made by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to UNESCO, as well as the Iranian side.
“The file on the “Art of crafting and playing with Kamancha” was submitted by Azerbaijan together with Iran. It was included into the UNESCO list as a multinational element. In this regard, the policy of the Azerbaijani state reaffirms that Azerbaijan is a supporter of intercultural dialogue and refers to culture as a factor uniting peoples,” head of International Cooperation Department of Ministry of Culture and Tourism Vasif Eyvazzade said.
Azerbaijan’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Ambassador Anar Karimov noted that the art of playing kamancha covers a wider geography than the borders of Azerbaijan. Kamancha is an essential part of musical culture in both countries, and while crafting the instrument represents a direct source of earning a living, craftspeople also perceive the art as a strong part of the intangible cultural heritage of their communities. Through their music, performers convey many themes, from the mythological to the gnostic and the comic.
“It is obvious that kamancha is yet another instrument shared among different countries. However, it is a time, when all UNESCO members are concerned about the increasing politization of this organization and repeatedly call for mutual respect, dialogue and understanding. Regretfully, at another Committee meeting we have been hijacked by one country purely on political grounds. We are not here to accommodate the political interests of one party, who does not act in good will and act against the principles of this convention. As Committee members, our responsibility is to make sure that interventions are not in line with the spirit of this convention. Let me conclude by warmly congratulating Azerbaijan and Iran for successfully presenting old tradition of our region for a possible inscription into the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” said a representative from Turkey.
“I would like to express my joy on the inscription of the Kamancha musical instrument into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage co-proposed with Azerbaijan. This can be considered as the next practical step in this direction. I would like to extend my gratitude and sincere congratulations to my Azerbaijani colleagues for the work they have done,” a representative from Iran said.
Today, the knowledge of performing and crafting kamancha is transmitted both within the families and in State-sponsored musical institutions and schools. Knowledge about the importance of the music in promoting cultural identity is transmitted from generation to generation in all strata of society in both countries.
Notably, earlier, UNESCO was recognized Azerbaijan’s dolma as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.