May 07, 2010

Tuva: Eleonora Huseinova, “I Will Become An Advocate Of Tuvan Throat-Singing In UNESCO”

Active ImageThe permanent representative of Azerbaijan to UNESCO, Eleanora Huseinova, announced her plans on placing Tuvan throat-singing in the UNESCO protected cultural and heritage list.

Below is an article published by TuvaOnline:

“I will become an advocate of Tuvan throat-singing”, announced the permanent representative of Azerbaijan to UNESCO, Eleanora Huseinova with rapture at the UNESCO headquarters after the concert. According to her, UNESCO should include Tuvan throat-singing in the list of non-material cultural heritages of humanity.

From February 26 to March 2 of this year, a Tuvan delegation including throat-singing performers – Andrei Mongush, Ayas Kuular, Erik Saryglar, Aikhaan, Kan-Khuler, the theatre of fashion and dance “Edegei”, the shamans of the shamanic association “Adyg Eeren”, and with participation of the National Museum of Republic Tyva, realized a massive debut on the international arena – with the support of the Russian embassies and consulates, they performed in the countries of Europe with their project “Tuva – Republic in the center of Asia”.

This large-scale tour was made possible thanks to the financial support of Tuva Senator Sergei Pugachev, youth studio “Anai-Khaak”, and the ensemble “Edegei”. After each concert, the Tuvan delegation had to face a real siege by rapturous audiences, whose hearts were overflowing with words of gratitude and recognition “Eighth wonder of the world”, “unique phenomenon in the world of art”, and other elevated phrases were uttered to communicate the delight and admiration caused by the performances of Tuvan artists.

Right now it is difficult to transmit even a fraction of the rapture and ardor that reigned at the concert venues of the countries of Europe. If groups such as “Huun-Huur-Tu”, “Chirgilchin” and “Alash” “broke through a window” to the West for the fans and amateurs of throat-singing, then such projects like “Tuva – Republic in the center of Asia” open the door to Europe for an official recognition of Tuvan throat-singing. The organization of the tour by official channels, with support from Russian embassies and consulates as well as the performance at the headquarters of UNESCO gave an immense impetus towards international recognition of Tuvan throat-singing by official personages. During the concert at the UNESCO headquarters, where many representatives of Turkic-language-speaking countries and regions of Russia were present in the 2000 seat auditorium, the number by Tuvan artists called forth the greatest enthusiasm. There were not just stormy ovations, but rounds of applause and shouting! The highest marks were given not just by the representatives of the diplomatic corps of the countries of UNESCO, but alsoby the staff of this authoritative international organization, as well as by the many guests.

When after the Tuvan performance the auditorium exploded in applause, a French artist with Tatar roots, Renat Ayunov, said: ”Of course, it was not really ethical to give such ovations to the Tuvans while there were other performers present, but the spirits and the emotions of the audience were so high that nobody could hold back and stay within appropriate limits.” “It is difficult enough to surprise Paris, the cultural capital of the world, but the Tuvans have managed to do it,” – added the president of the “East-West. Bridge” association, Nina Moussett-Yevtushenko.

As the minister of culture, Vyacheslav Dongak, often says, if there is even the smallest possibility to turn international attention to our culture, we have to use this possibility.

The presentation of the project “Tuva – Republic in the center of Asia” in the countries of Europe, and, of course, at the headquarters of UNESCO became just such an opportunity. Specifically this project became an active instrument in the propagation of throat-singing for inclusion in the list of non-material cultural heritages of humanity, because the performance of Tuvan throat-singers called forth sincere sympathies from the representatives of UNESCO, who are in charge of further deciding the matter of including Tuvan throat-singing in the list.

The emissaries of the participating countries proposed the necessity of working on the matter of including Tuvan Throat-singing in the list.

Just two years ago, minister of culture Vyacheslav Dongak consulted the bureau of UNESCO in Moscow and at the headquarters in Paris about the possibility of including throat-singing in the UNESCO list.

Because Russia did not ratify the UNESCO convention about the protection of non-material cultural heritage, there were certain problems; as the initiators of the proposal we did not have the right to submit the application. Nevertheless, right now there is a possibility to bring the proposal to UNESCO through a third party.

Recently it became publicized that China and Mongolia have initiated proceedings about the inclusion of throat-singing in the UNESCO list. According to a member of the headquarters staff we now have an opportunity, using the materials and research of our scholars, to protest these applications. Tuvans appear to be the true keepers of throat-singing. There was a precedent with an analogical situation with the Tadzhiks. When the Uzbeks submitted an application for inclusion the “Shashmakom” national music, the Tadzhiks sent in a protest to the General Director of UNESCO, proving that “Shashmakom” was a cultural heritage of the Tadzhiks, and that the world recognition of “Shashmakom” was gained specifically by Tadzhik performers.

The process was stopped, and after study of the materials and historical documentation, it became a joint project. At the introduction of the nomination of “Shashmakom” into the list of non-material cultural treasures, Tadzhikistan is listed first, and Uzbekistan in the second place.

The spread and popularization of throughout the world of a specific art form plays a first-degree role where the inclusion in the UNESCO list is concerned. And today, throat-singing has become a sort of world fashion, which was introduced throughout the world specifically by Tuvan performers.

We still have a chance to stand in the first place in the nomination of the inclusion of throat-singing in the UNESCO list. And we have to work and work for that.