Punto Cubano included on UNESCO's list as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The list includes forms of expression from across the world that show the diversity of intangible heritage and contribute to raising awareness of its importance.

‘Punto’ is the poetry and music of Cuban peasants, consisting of a tune or melody over which a person sings an improvised or learned stanza of 10 octameter verse lines, with a rhyming scheme. The accompanying music uses string instruments like lute, tres, guitar, bass, and often clave, güiro or marímbula – and percussion instruments like bongo and conga drum.

Punto is practiced all around Cuba, and it is estimated that there are more than 30,000 practitioners in the 15 provinces of the country.

The techniques and knowledge related to ‘punto guajiro’ are transmitted essentially by imitation, and also through a teaching program organized in community cultural centres (Casas de Cultura) across the country, involving workshops taught by practitioners of the genre.

The application submitted by Cuba stated that ‘Punto is the poetry and music of the Cuban peasants,’ and although it is practised in the countryside, variants now exist throughout the rest of the population.

In addition to ‘punto cubano’, another eight new elements were inscribed this week on the list of Intangible Heritage, they are the ritual journeys in La Paz during Alasita, in Bolivia; the Kochari, a traditional Armenian dance; and Konjic woodcarving, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, among others.

In 2016, Cuba was successful in ‘rumba’ being included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a recognition of that music and dance genre being representative of the culture and tradition on the island.

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