Mexican folk music wins Unesco recognition

4th Sep 2012

Mariachi, the traditional folk music of Mexico, has been recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.

Generally played with guitars, violins and trumpets, mariachi was honoured at a ceremony in Guadalajara, in the west of Mexico, held as part of the 19th International Mariachi Meeting.

The award was accepted by eight mini mariachi players, aged between five and 10 years old, sporting the distinctive mariachi outfits at a short ceremony in the main square of Guadalajara on Sunday.

Officials hope the Unesco award will encourage a younger generation of Mexicans to keep the traditions of mariachi music alive, but it's also likely to arouse the interest of adventurous tourists keen to see what the folk music is all about.

Consuelo Saizar, president of the national culture and arts council, known as Conaculta, told children at the ceremony: "We simply ask you to conserve and preserve this legacy and its traditions."

Mariachi music was put forward for the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list by the government of Jalisco state, and approved by the unanimous decision of a committee of Unesco experts meeting on the island of Bali.

The ceremony also celebrated the opening of a mariachi library, an academy which will tutor musicians on the history of the folk style, and containing an audio archive of 50,000 recordings.

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