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Mariachi, Others Named To UNESCO’s List Of Intangible Cultural Patrimony

A couple of weeks back, we highlighted a report from Al Jazeera in which Mexican officials were asking the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to place Mariachi  music in their list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage In Need Of Urgent Safeguarding.” It looks like the plan worked because yesterday, UNESCO announced that the popular musical genre, which is not only popular in Mexico but in the United States, made the list.

Mariachi is amongst fourteen items inscribed to the list of intangible cultural patrimony. Other Latino-related items to be listed are Colombia’s “traditional knowledge of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí,” which is described as:

“The jaguar shamans of Yuruparí are the common heritage of the many ethnic groups living along the Pirá Paraná River in southeastern Colombia. Using traditional knowledge and ritual practices, the shamans heal, prevent sickness and revitalize nature. During the Hee Biki ritual, male children learn the traditional guidelines for these practices as a part of their passage into adulthood. It is believed that shamans inherited their traditional knowledge from the all-powerful, mythical Yuruparí, an anaconda who lived as a human and is embodied in sacred trumpets.”

… and Peru’s “Pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i”:

“The Pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i begins 58 days after Easter when people representing eight indigenous villages from around Cusco, Peru travel to the Sinakara sanctuary. This religious event plays itself out over 24 hours as people process up and down the mountain ending in the village of Tayancani at sunrise. Dances play a central role in the pilgrimage. The Council of Pilgrim Nations and the Brotherhood of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i oversee activities and maintain the rules and codes of behaviour.”

In a time where it’s difficult to be a Latino in this country, it’s important to embrace our rich cultural history. Well done, us. To celebrate, we’re going to pour ourselves a little tequilita (something that should also be on that list, by the way), and sing along to “El Rey” himself, Jose Alfredo Jimenez:


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