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Cante Alentejano is a World Intangible Heritage

Cante Alentejano is a World Intangible Heritage

February 04, 2015

Since the last November, Cante Alentejano is now an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Explore this melody!

Following the international recognition of Fado (2011), the polyphonic song of the Portuguese region of Alentejo is now recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

It talks work, love, contemplation and Saudade and now is a world treasure. Discover this traditional and different music that can be listened during the daily work of the agriculture activities.

A melodic and genuine medody, considered World Heritage

Portugal has, in its cultural heritage, a traditional form of music, unique in the World, known as "Cante Alentejano” (Alentejano Song), recently declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The decision was taken in Paris, on 27th November 2014. 

This Alentejo Song was the only Portuguese presence among the 46 proposals for the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. According to UNESCO, Portugal’s candidacy, promoted by the council of Serpa in conjunction with the Alentejo Regional Tourism Entity, filled all conditions.

Portugal’s “Cante Alentejano” follows now the Mediterranean Diet (2013) and the Fado (2011) as another Portuguese exponent of Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Congratulations to Portugal and especially to Alentejo! 

With a repertoire composed by modas (songs), the polyphonic singing of “Cante Alentejano” is sung by groups formed by three base voices - the Point, the High and the Second Voices - without any use of musical instruments.

This traditional song is called alentejano because it came originally from the region of Alentejo, in Southern Portugal.

There are different theories about the origin of this very genuine musical expression. The most common approach believe that this music is a cultural legacy of the Arabic presence in that region. Another perspective defends that the birth of this song is in the Gregorian practice of chorus.

This informal and spontaneous melody took place in the countryside and marked the rhythm of the daily work of the agriculture activities of Alentejo. The collective song stimulated the competition among the workers and encouraged the men, women and children to give their best in their agricultural tasks.

Then the “Alentejano Song” started in taverns and parties and, in the first decades of the 20th century, the first coral groups were formally organized. Today, there are over 150 "Cante Alentejano" groups. 

Among other topics, the music’s talk about Work, Love, Contemplation and Saudade, the Portuguese word for nostalgia. Come to Alentejo and experience a delightful “Cante Alentejano” performance.

“Cante Alentejano”: the soul of the people from Alentejo

Do you want to have the opportunity to discover this incredible region and hear its relaxing typical song? Please check our 1 Day tour through Alentejo or ask us for a customized trip.

There are plenty of motives to visit Alentejo. The vast golden plains of this bucolic and peaceful landscape of oaks, olive trees and vineyards is just a curtain that opens into a delightful cuisine and delicious wines an unimaginable heritage!