Siberian Ice Drummers Use Frozen Lake Baikal As An Incredible Musical Instrument

The Russian percussion group Etnobit

A group of Siberian percussionists have discovered the coolest instrument in the world: the ice on the frozen Lake Baikal. The musicians noticed quite by accident that the one-meter thick ice on Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, produces a rich, distinctive sound. According to the Siberian Times , Natalya Vlasevskaya (a member of the group) reported:

‘The wife of one of our drummers, Sergei Purtyan, slipped and fell down, and as she landed on the ice, she made a very musical ‘boooooom’ sound – so nice and deep that her husband, who has a very good ear, said ‘Hold on, what was it? How did you make that noise?’

‘So we walked to the same spot where Tatiana, our drummer’s wife, fell down so fortuitously, and started touching the ice, feeling how it sounded’.

In fact, for some reason, the ice in other parts of the lake does not produce the same stunning results. While Baikal is 1,642 metres (5,387 feet) deep, in this part of the lake there is only five metres or so of water under them as they perform.

‘People later asked us how we found the spot where different bits of ice sounded so much in harmony with each other.

‘The answer is, I don’t know. This is just how was. This is perhaps what I mean by saying about it being the wonder of Nature, that all we had to do was to discover that place, get there, and start playing.

siberian ice drummers

Drumming on Lake Baikal

Baikal is a cold lake. Only in May is it freed of ice. Some years, in the north of the lake, the ice even remains in parts till June, and sometimes blocks of ice drift in these areas as late as July. It is the freshwater lake with greatest volume in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water, and at 1,642 m (5,387 ft), the deepest. It is also among the clearest of all lakes, and thought to be the world’s oldest lake at 25 million years. It is the 7th largest lake in the world by surface area.

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