Ugandan traditional music, which is dying out partly because it requires materials from endangered species, has been placed on UNESCO’s protected “Intangible Cultural Heritage” list, along with Portuguese pottery and Ukrainian Cossack songs.
A UNESCO world heritage committee, meeting in Addis Ababa Tuesday, decided to include Uganda’s Ma’di Bowl Lyre music and dance, one of the oldest cultural practices of the Madi people of Uganda.
It is still performed at some weddings and to celebrate harvests but is at risk “due to it being considered old-fashioned by younger generations” and because it requires materials from plants and animals now endangered.
A black pottery manufacturing process from the Portuguese village of Bisalhaes was also added to the UNESCO list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding”.
Designed for decorative and cooking purposes, it features on the village’s coat of arms but the pottery is suffering from “waning interest from younger generations and popular demand for industrial alternatives”, the UN’s cultural, scientific and educational arm said in a statement.
The third cultural gem added to the list are Cossack songs from Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, which tell stories about the tragedy of war and personal relationships of Cossack soldiers. This art form is also in danger as its participants age, UNESCO said.
Belgian beer and the Cuban rumba dance were also on the UNESCO candidates’ list, created ten years ago, which is used above all to increase awareness of these cultural practices, although UNESCO can sometimes financially or technically support countries struggling to protect them.