MDG-F helping to preserve Turkish minstrel tradition


MDG-F helping to preserve Turkish minstrel tradition

KARS, Turkey, February 2011 – Throughout the ages, the minstrels of Turkey have wandered the country, plucking traditional stringed instruments and offering their poems, songs and stories at weddings, feasts and social gatherings. Passed from master to apprentice, the art of the minstrels gave identity and continuity to their communities and is deeply rooted in Turkish cultural life.

Today, the MDG-Fund is helping safeguard and promote the Minstrelsy Tradition, listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, in the northeast province of Kars, where the art of the minstrel – or âşık – is most strongly represented.

On January 17, the Kars Minstrel Culture House was inaugurated as part of the Joint UN Programme “Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia.” The programme, implemented by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Kars Municipality and the UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF and UNWTO, aims at promoting cultural tourism in Kars Province, and building local capacities to leverage the province’s cultural and natural assets for social and economic development.

The Culture House will be used by the local Çobanoğlu Minstrels Association to perform and teach minstrelsy and to preserve the art for future generations.

The UN joint programme has also helped to organize an international festival of minstrels, to produce a recording of minstrel performances and to support training on the making and performing of the traditional “saz” and “tar” instruments.

The initiative’s goal is to boost incomes in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey’s least developed region. It falls under MDG-F’s efforts to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty around the world.

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