Visiting the Drum Maker

April 2, 2018

On Monday, after we after we ate lunch and rested, we went to visit drum maker Valery Gudyrev. Apparently, he is the only person in the area who can make these drums. We took a taxi to the edge of town and rode the rest of the way in a sled pulled by a snow mobile. Our interpreter, Irina, is sitting in the sled.

Valery lives outside of town in a Nenets tent, or chum.

It is very similar to a tipi. It is constructed with a scaffolding of long poles covered with insulating material and canvas. They used to make them from reindeer hides, but not so much any more. The dog is a special shepherding Nenets dog.

The shum is heated by a small wood-burning stove vented through the top of the tent. The shum is very warm and comfortable. This is Yan, the visit organizer, and Valery. Valery told us that he has a generator that he uses for electricity and a satellite dish. The TV was on the whole time we were there. He also has a small tablet computer.

Valery had fixed a typical Nenets dinner of deer bouillon, deer meat, raw salted fish, willow flower tea and Russian bread and cookies. I passed on the fish, but Toby and Kelly said it was very good. The rest of the food was quite tasty. The reindeer meat is similar to elk, with a fairly mild flavor.

After we ate, Valery showed us how to make a Nenets drum. A Nenets drum is different from a Samish drum in that it has pieces of wood called resonators attached around the outside rim of the drum that affect the sound of the drum.

Toby made a small drum which he got to keep. In this picture, he is wearing a traditional Nenets garment.


Here he is again in the same garment.

We got back to the hotel around 9:00 pm.

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