The drum

goabdes /goavdis (north Sámi)
meavrresgárri (north Sámi)
gievrie (south Sámi)
runebomme (Norwegian)

The drum was an important instrument for the noaidi.

Along with the drum went a drumstick and pointers made of reindeer horn or brass. When the drum was struck with the drumstick, the pointers moved around and indicated the various symbols on the drumskin. In this way the noaidi could foretell the future and communicate with gods and spirits. The noaidi could also use the drum to put himself into a trance.

The drums of south Sámi areas were made with a wooden frame, whilst the northern drums were in the form of a hollowed out bowl. Fastened to the back of the drum there might be various amulets of silver or brass or animal claws, teeth or bones, which were intended to increase the power of the drum.

The missionaries of the 17th and 18th centuries destroyed many drums, but a number were sent south, including to the National Museum in Copenhagen. Unfortunately many of these were lost in a fire in 1728. Today about 70 Sámi drums from pre-Christian times are preserved.

Leem, Knud, 1767:
Beskrivelse over Finmarkens Lapper.
Manker, Ernst, 1938:
Die lappische Zaubertrommel 1.
Manker, Ernst, 1950: Die lappische Zaubertrommel 2.
Westman, Anna og Utsi, John E., 1998: Gárrid áigi. Sámiid dolo
š gárid ja oskku birra./ Trumtid. Om samernas trummor och religion.
Ottar 4-97: Noaidier og trommer
Tegninger av bevarte og tapte trommer

Poala-Ándde goavddis/Anders Poulsens Tromme. Foto: Mihkku Solbakk