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date: 06 April 2020


  • Arvydas Karaška


Kettledrum of Lithuania. It consists of a large copper kettle, sometimes an ordinary kitchen kettle, with oxhide stretched over it and fastened with a metal tension-ring and six to eight screws. The būgnas katilasis placed on a metal frame and is struck with two beaters.

The body of the drum could also be hollowed out of ash, fir, or birchwood. Three small holes are made in the base ‘for the sound to escape’. The head is made of the skin of a goat, pig, calf, dog, wolf, or roe and is fastened with a string or wooden pegs. This type ofbūgnas katilasis placed on three stones and can be played alone or with several others. The sound of the instrument was believed to ward off evil spirits or to avert showers, storms, droughts, and other disasters, and was used as a magic (apotropaic), ritual, ceremonial, or signalling instrument. In the past it was played during religious, farming, or calendar holidays and family celebrations (mostly weddings). From the 19th century to the first half of the 20th, the būgnas katilaswas used to call people to work, to prayers, to the bedside of a dying man, to a funeral feast, to fires, and to various village gatherings....

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