Slovakia has 4 entries on the representative UNESCO List of the Intangible Heritage. The shepherd’s pipe fujara, as a typical musical instrument of the country, and the fujara music were included in the List as the first entry in the year 2008. It had been playing the solo for Slovakia on the List for five years, when the Music of Terchová was added there in the year 2013. Two years later, in the year 2015, the third artefact associated with music was added – the bagpipes and the bagpipes culture. The latest entry applies to the traditional marionette theatre in Slovakia and was made in the year 2016.
The shepherd’s pipe fujara and the fujara music
While admiring the beautiful images of the Slovak nature, creations of human hands and craft, perhaps no music would sound so aptly and authentically as the massive tones rolling out from long wooden tubes. The fujara is a particularly long flute with three holes for fingers. It is formed by a wider flute with a length of up to 2 metres and a smaller one, a 50 to 80 centimetres long flute. Shepherds used to be playing it from ancient times, especially in Central Slovakia. It is not just the national folk instrument, but also a historic and an artistically uniquely elaborated artefact. In the sound of the fujara, you can hear thundering lightness, but also the most natural local colour of Slovakia.
The village of Terchová is located in North Central Slovakia, and in addition to being the birthplace of the national hero Juraj Jánošík, it is also synonymous to traditional culture, customs, and folklore. In the UNESCO List of the Intangible World Heritage, this music is included as typical for that locale. It is materialized by smaller vocal-instrumental groupings, which by rhythmic melodies played on stringed instruments, would almost invite you to dance. Performances of the folklore groups of Terchová are part of various events, the most famous of them being the international festival of folk arts Jánošikove dni (Jánošík Days). The traditional musical culture, transmitted by oral tradition, is a pride and a kind of brand of originality of the inhabitants of Terchová and its surroundings.
Bagpipes and the bagpipe culture
Bagpipes are among the most traditional folk musical instruments, having been known for long hundreds even thousands of years. Not just the instrument itself, but also the bagpipe culture is included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage, embracing all the manifestations related to the production and use of this specific bag and its pipe. The bagpipe culture represents a long tradition represented chiefly by peasants and herdsmen in the territory of Slovakia, whose roots go back to 14th century. A specialized guild is instrumental in helping maintaining, promoting, and developing the bagpipe culture in Slovakia. The Slovak Bagpipe Players Guild currently registers some 40 sites, in which the tradition of bagpipe culture is still alive.
The traditional marionette theatre in Slovakia
The marionette theatre in Slovakia is not just an artistic or theatrical genre. It also provides space for expressing different points of view on the world, and as it specifically concentrates on children, it is also on educating moral values. The marionette theatre is an integral part of the Slovak theatrical and literary tradition, the traditional marionettes are made of wood and their movement is provided by employing various techniques. The original bearers of the traditions of the marionette show are the whole family dynasties, in which this art was inherited from generation to generation.