Yakutia People's Musik and Folklore Museum
Yakutia occupies almost all of Northeastern part of the Asian continent. In the beginning of the 17’th century, Yakutia became an integral part of Russia. Today the territory of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) makes up 18,2% of the territory of the Russian Federation or over 3,1 m. sq.km. The capital of Yakutia - Yakutsk is one of the oldest cities of Siberia, it was founded in 1632.
Yakutia is located in several natural zones: the Arctic deserts, tundra, forest-tundra and taiga. Yakutia is rich in natural resources: including diamonds, gold, coal, petroleum, natural gas etc.
However, the most important resource of the Republic are people. Apart from indigenous people, such as Yakuts (self-name "Sakha"), Evens, Evenks, Yukagirs the Republic is inhabited by Russians, and representatives of more than 70 other nationalities.
All people of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) have rich cultural traditions. The traditional culture of indigenous people of Yakutia is very original and unique.
In the historical center (in the " Old city ") of Yakutsk there is Museum of music and folklore of People of Yakutia, created in January 29, 1991 under the initiative of permanent director and founder, well known musician Aiza Reshetnikova.
The goal of the museum is promotion of knowledge about traditional culture, and folklore of Yakuts, Evens, Evenks, Yukagirs, and Russian settlers, and also about the achievements of professional musical art of the Republics.
The uniqueness of the museum is based upon the idea that exhibits here, like musical instruments, photos, books, notes, etc. are not just exhibited; during the course of an excursion we reveal musical code of archaic cultures, the affinity and typological unity of their basis - traditional beliefs of people of Yakutia.
The events of the museum are unusual in nature: concert – lectures, theatralized presentations, meetings with leading musicians, scientists, performance of classical music, chamber concerts and other.
In the museum there are several halls:
- music ethnography of yakuts;
- musical instruments;
- musical ethnography of Northern people;
- folklore researchers
- musical theater, composers
- singers of Yakutia
- Yakutian pop music, dance groups, circus.
During the excursion around halls of the museum it is possible to get acquainted with yakutian beliefs, origins of «Sakha» nation, symbolism of national holiday «ysyakh», music of heroic epics: yakutian olonkho, evenki nimnghakan, structure of shaman sacred dance and other.
What are «khomus», «kyrympa», «djargha», «kupsour» and others, and how do they sound?
After all, even shamonic suit can be regarded as musical instrument, thanks to metallic lavaliere-rattle, campanula, which generate very specific symphony of a sound.
A genuine decoration of museum halls are wax figures of folklore researchers, prominent musicians made by talented artist Fedor Aleksandrov.
Tunghus people, inhabiting Yakutia has a very peculiar folklore. They have nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyle, and their traditional occupation is rain-deer breeding, hunting, fishing.
For Tunghus people, the song has a continuos linkage with life of a person in all of its manifestations: the song is performed not only when people want to, the song accompanies all ceremonies and rites, including funeral; the song also is a cabal and it cures people.
Since the end of the 17th century travelers and researchers regard Yakutian legends and myths as a reliable source of ethnic history, traditional lifestyle and housekeeping.
The most important researchers of folklore of people of Yakutia were Otto Nikolaevich Betling (1815-1904), born in St.Petersburg to a german family, Ivan Aleksandrovich Hudyakov (1842-1876), from Tobolisk by origin, Vaclav Leopolidovich Seroshevsky, born in small town Voulika – Kozlovka in Poland, Eduard Karlovich Baker's (1858-1934), was born in a district of Minsk county, to a family of a Polish nobleman, Middendorf Alexander Fedorovich (1815-1894), born in Liflyandia.
Decoration of the hall about folklore researchers is the «cabinet» of G.U. Ergis – well known researcher of heroic epics, historical legends, riddles, sayings, the founder of the scientific school of yakutian folklorists.
In the origins of yakutian professional music there are Adam Skryabin, Fedor Kornilov, Mark Zhirkov and others.
On the scene of Yakut theatre, the olonkho «Nyurgun Bootur the » was first staged as a musical drama, and as an opera afterwards.
In the museum, it is possible not only to get acquainted with the materials about professional singers, one can also hear their voices from our records archive.
In Yakutia, there are many groups performing traditional Yakutian, Even, Evenk, and Yukagir dance. In our museum you can get the impression about the condition of modern yakutian pop music, about the most Nothernmost circus of Russia
The Museum of music and folklore of people of Yakutia was the organizer of the International conference «Shamanism as religion: genesis, reconstructions and traditions» (August 14-22, 1992). On that conference there were presentations of reports by scientists from USA, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia and Russian regions. For the first time in the post-soviet area, scientists who devoted their lives to research of traditional beliefs and culture of Siberian people have gathered together to exchange their ideas. The President of the scientific council was Doctor of historical sciences, academician Anatoliy Gogolev.
While considering it important to consider each ethnic culture in the context of related and neighboring cultures, the museum came with the initiative to organize the International conference «Musical ethnography of Tunghus-Manchu people» (August 17-23, 2000.) Researchers from USA, Canada, Hungary, Italy , Slovakia, Turkey, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ulan-Ude have taken part in that conference. In the ethnographic concert which followed, there were presentations of folklore performers from Khabarovsk, Primorsky Krai, Evenk autonomous district and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
On the conference, there were sections by the following subjects: «Instrumental music of Tunghus-Manchu people», «Epic music», «Songs in the ceremonial context» and «Circular dances of Tunghus-Manchu people» and others.
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