A special Silbo thank you from La Gomera to frontline professionals in the covid19 fight #SilboGomeroHomenaje

Updated 21 May: They did it, throughout the island, and here is a short video showing some of them with subtitles to tell you what they were saying (or rather whistling) as they thanked those who have been working frontline in the covid19 outbreak, and are still working too. I didn’t hear anything around me in Tenerife so don’t know if anyone here joined in in any way, but if you did, please do let us know!

Updated 20 May: Just a reminder of this, 7pm tonight … we probably won’t hear them in Tenerife but we might have a few of our own joining in!! And let’s hope it gets the media coverage it deserves! I for one will be out, listening and trying to whistle, at 7pm tonight!

Original post 14 May: We will all have been aware of the social recognition for frontline professionals working in the covid19 outbreak. It is a phenomenon that has taken different forms in different places, from solo opera singing from balconies in Milan to group clapping on Westminster Bridge, and now there will be one public recognition in a very particular place with a very specific difference, Silbo in La Gomera.

Silbo is a whistling language developed over centuries to allow islanders to talk to each other across the deep and wide barrancos that characterise La Gomera. It was recognized as an invaluable cultural asset, and so a proper language, in 2009 when UNESCO included it in its category of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and it has won a new lease of life since, including being taught in schools.

Now, Canarian Tourism Minister Yaiza Castilla has announced a public recognition of frontline professionals by means of Silbo at 7pm on Wednesday 20 May, an island-wide whistling that will almost certainly be complemented by anyone who can whistle at all! Possibly it will spill over from La Gomera itself and we will hear it in Tenerife too. Castilla herself said that Silbo Gomero is an historic, cultural and touristic resource of enormous relevance to the Canary Islands, and as such this is going to bring both the language and the islands to a wider audience and show the region as a tourism leader with many and diverse attractions to get to know and enjoy.

Through the hashtag #SilboGomeroHomenaje all La Gomera’s inhabitants who want to take part will be able to record their homage and share it on social media, and I dare say we will see a few from Tenerife too. I hope so!    

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Janet, for putting the video up. I searched #SilboGomeroHomenaje yesterday morning but nothing came up, so I was very happy to see your post this morning.

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