The second phase of the International Assistance (IA) project “Inventory, safeguarding and promoting knowledge of how to manufacture and play Togo’s traditional musical instruments” recently came to an end. The final report (French) gives an overview of the many objectives achieved throughout the implementation of the project.
Implemented by the National Commission for Cultural Heritage (Commission Nationale du Patrimoine Culture, CNPC) with various institutional partners, the project builds on lessons learned from the pilot phase of the project, which took place in Yohonou, southern Togo between January 2016 and February 2017. The last inventory of Togolese living heritage, conducted in 2011, showed a lack of documentation regarding many elements and skills related to the making and playing of traditional musical instruments and dances. The drum Atopani, air-instruments like Ezi and Biglo, and the Balafon, to name a few, are threatened by several factors including the rural exodus of young people and the important place held by modern music.
According to the report, an updated inventory (French) featuring over 700 elements was drawn by young people that were specifically trained for that purpose. An emphasis was put on intergenerational transmission, giving further visibility to traditional music instruments and related skills to younger generations as trainings and workshops were organized. Exhibitions were put together, and communication materials were disseminated in schools and amongst communities across the country. Stakeholders successfully conducted the project despite the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted its implementation.
Find out more about the safeguarding projects that have been granted International Assistance under the 2003 Convention, and materials produced by UNESCO to ensure that State Parties are supported in the elaboration of requests.
A video produced as part of the IA project is available on YouTube.