A symbol of identity, Fado music is widely sung in Lisbon and represents a distinctly Portuguese multicultural synthesis of Afro-Brazilian music, local genres of song and dance, rural music, and urban song patterns of the early nineteenth century. Fado is typically performed by a solo male or female singer, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and the Portuguese “guitarra”, a pear-shaped twelve-stringed lute. It is performed professionally and informally in grass-root associations and often transmitted over successive generations within the same families.

The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003 and now includes 139 States Parties. Only those countries that have ratified the Convention are eligible to present items for inscription on the Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage comprises 24 UNESCO Member States, elected for a term of four years. Half the Committee is renewed every two years.

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