UNESCO has added frevo to its list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. One of 16 new elements inscribed in December 2012.
UNESCO states: “Frevo is a Brazilian artistic expression comprising music and dance, performed mainly during the Carnival of Recife. Its quick frenetic and vigorous rhythm draws upon the fusion of musical genres such as marching music, Brazilian tango, square dance, polka and pieces of classical repertoire, performed by martial bands and fanfares. The music is essentially urban, and like the accompanying dance, ‘Passo’, is vigorous and subversive. The dance stems from the skill and agility of capoeira fighters, who improvise leaps to the electrifying sound of steel orchestras and bands.”
Among the reasons listed for its adoption on the list were:
1: Frevo constitutes a syncretic artistic expression recognized by the people of Recife as a festive symbol of their identity and continuity and constantly recreated by them in response to changing social conditions;
2: Its inscription on the Representative List could favour dialogue, promote mutual understanding, and foster appreciation of the creative spirit of humanity, thanks in particular to its openness to diverse people and communities;
3: The description of safeguarding measures is thorough and extensive, with well-identified activities focused on promotion, dissemination, documentation and education; the commitment of the communities and the support of the State Party are demonstrated;
4: The element was nominated following wide and active involvement of the community, associations and groups concerned, and their free, prior and informed consent is amply demonstrated;