Victor Gilash: Cobza is an identity element that represents us

The cobza is an identity element that represents us and the creation of a file for the inclusion of the cobza and cobza playing in the UNESCO Heritage List is a very good initiative, musicologist Victor Gilash stated in IPN’s public debate “UNESCO file “Cobza”. Moldovan-Romanian cooperation in promotion of intangible cultural heritage”. According to the representative of the Institute of Cultural Heritage, the inclusion of the cobza in the UNESCO list will contribute to the promotion and preservation of this musical instrument.

The musicologist noted that the cobza is a common identity element for Romania and Moldova and the creation of a joint file for its inclusion in the UNESCO list is the initiative of the Romanian side and this was gladly accepted in Chisinau.

“It was a good initiative because the cobza is an identity element that represents us. The initiation of this file was also influenced by the fact that the Ukrainians would also like this instrument, the cobza, to be included in the UNESCO list. But as far as I know, the Ukrainians don’t have the cobza in the way it worked and works in our country. They use the word “cobzar”, but refer to another instrument that has different morphology. In the variant in which it exists in Romania, the cobza can also be found at the Czechs, Slovaks, Poles. In Ukraine, the cobza probably existed in areas inhabited by Romanians, Hertsa region, Bukovina,” said musicologist Victor Gilash.

According to him, the cobza has been frequently met in the Romanian space since ancient times, being initially known as the “lute”.

“The initiation of this file has good intentions. It will be one more common element. The cobza was not created for the sake of creating an instrument, but in order to convey particular messages. The cobza was fairly widespread and frequently used on both banks of the Prut. Initially, there was not so much talk of the cobza, but there was talk of an ancestor of the cobza, of the lute. But in time the word “fiddler”, that is the one who played the lute, was extrapolated to other instruments. A violinist, a cobza player and others were also called fiddlers,” stated Victor Gilash.

The musicologist noted that together with the inclusion of the cobza in the UNESCO list, an ample process of promoting the tradition of cobza playing will be started. This process is indispensable for preventing the disappearance of this musical instrument.

“As soon as the element is added to the UNESCO list, an activity plan for the implementation of this element will be developed. The same was done in the case of the previous file regarding the traditional blouse. The element is to be promoted, popularized through various forms, events, cultural activities, scientific meetings, CDs, radio and TV shows. That is this element, this knowledge about the cobza should be disseminated much wider,” explained Victor Gilash.

The public debate was the third edition of the project “Double integration through cooperation and information. Continuity”, which is funded by the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova. The content of this debate does not represent the official position of the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova.

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