UNESCO has included the Cossack songs of Dnipro region (southeastern Ukraine) into its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.
UNESCO’s website announced this on November 29.
Cossack songs are sung by communities of the Dnipropetrovsk region which tell stories about the tragedy of war but also the personal relationships of Cossack soldiers. Singers practise the tradition in three different groups: Krynycya, Boguslavochka and Pershocvit. The songs are sung for pleasure and so practitioners can have a connection to the past – their ancestors and their community’s history. Many of the singers, both men and women, are aged in their 70s and 80s and have been involved in the practice for most of their lives.
The singers normally meet regularly and while not requiring an audience, may sometimes give a concert. It is a tradition that is transmitted within families where younger members learn from those more experienced, but its continuity is now in question due to an aging bearer population and the sparsity of other knowledge sources for new generations to learn from.