Sunday, August 28, 2005

Return of the Pikebone Kantele

At last, it has returned! Earlier this summer, Gerry Henkel sent me the pikebone kantele he had made, but it arrived at the writer's colony broken. Over the summer he repaired it and, after dealing with some problems caused by the US Postal Service, it has arrived. It looks beautiful, even in this hazy PDA picture of it sitting on one of my drums:

You can see a better picture here. I mentioned its return on the Kantele Players Guild list and Jane Ilmola of 3 Rivers Kanteles mentioned that she had a link to a real pikebone kantele. From their website, click on the link for instruments, then click on the Martti Pokela collection. You can scroll down and see the boney kantele.

The pikebone is traditionally the source of the first kantele. According to the Kalevala, the runesinger Väinämöinen made the first instrument from the jawbone of a giant pike he and his cohorts had wrestled from the sea. Its strings came from the tail of Hiisi's mare. You can find a version of the tale here, and more about real pikes here.

Thanks, Gerry! I am so lucky.

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