The Silver Taiga Foundation for Sustainable Development facilitated the Mezen Day intersettlement event in Glotovo, Udora, on 11 August 2018. Last year the festival was held in Bolshaya Pyssa. Over 250 residents of Glotovo and other settlements, including Syktyvkar, took part in the event. Unfortunately, visitors from near-Mezen areas of Arkhangelsk region could not come to participate in the event due to bad road condition and other reasons.
It was not by chance that Glotovo was appointed the venue for the event. The Model River Mezen project is aimed at restoration of fishery resources and development of sustainable management of the river, and it is in Glotovo where the AgroUdora cooperative consisting of 70 residents is located. The company leases 5 fishery plots on the Irva river and the Irva lakes. The Silver Taiga Foundation maintains close links with the cooperative supporting its initiatives targeted on independent management of fishery and other resources of the river.
In addition, Glotovo is one of the oldest villages of Udora district preserving its folk culture – customs and traditions, art and cuisine, and its dialect – for many centuries. The village is inhabited by industrious and talented people – craftsmen, people who know and love their native land. The Mezen Day is a great opportunity for them to show their abilities and for others to praise them.
It has become a good tradition to display items made by Udora craftsmen at the event. For the whole day Oksana Baklanova, Mezen wood painting expert from Syolyb, Alexander Popov, wood carving craftsman from Usogorsk, Valentin Bykov, willow weaving artisan from Chim, Dina Chuprova, folk art lover from Usogorsk, Svetlana Govorukhina, head of Udora community in Syktyvkar, and Nikolay Matveyev, craftsman from Yortom, gave master classes for visitors at the tent camp built in front of Glotovo secondary general school. Each participant of a master class got a token. The one who got most tokens were awarded at the end of the day. In addition, one could receive a token for right answers to the quiz held by Valentina Semyashkina, deputy director of Silver Taiga, and Albert Loginov, head of the Udorachi community of indigenous people.
Oksana Baklanova, Mezen wood painting expert
At N.Matveyev’s master class
Various pieces of art displayed as part of the exhibition of traditional fishing gear embellished the event well. The exhibition was prepared by the National Museum of Udora District (director – Valentina Soldatenko). At the entrance to the tent city one could see a couple of elderly fishermen and a young man in a traditional Komi outfit. All their harvest was seen in front of them. A fish trap, a harpoon, a float – this fishing gear provided by the museum was of great interest for the visitors.
Pieces of art
An old man and an old woman meeting visitors
For the first time, the Mezen Day in Glotovo featured an exhibition of Mezen boats. Nine local fisherman exhibited their “fishing tool” on the Mezen bank. The owners had to present their boats, speak about their makers, technical specifications, special characteristics and advantages. The panel of judges decided to award the victory to Vladimir Kalinin who involved his family to help in the presentation, including his grandchildren, who did more than just speaking about the boat, they were creative and applied their sense of humour to stage a sketch about an old man trying to sell his old boat and eventually buying a new one. The presentation of boats turned into contestants’ performance, but it was Vladimir Kalinin’s support group whose presentation was fancied most by the judges.
At the Mezen boat ‘parade’
The contest of fishermen’s stories Syo Zbyl! (meaning “naked truth” in Komi) was held as part of the event for the first time. The presenters of the contest were Natalya Shakhova and Andrey Mikhailov, the “Bad Spouses” duet. Natalya and Andrey are members of Komi teams of KVN (Club of Funny and Inventive People). They performed a whole show during the Mezen Day event featuring an ill-fated married couple who liked fishing. The audience adored the characters created by Natalya and Andrey and laughed themselves to tears. During breaks between scenes participants of the contest told their fishing stories. The winner of the contest was Lidya Gordeyeva from Glotovo.
The “Bad Spouses” duet and writer A. Vurdov
Spectators laughed themselves to tears
While the participants were getting ready for the show, AgroUdora cooperative representatives were cooking fish soup in a large pot on an open spot near the stage. The fish for the soup had been caught the night before in the Mezen. Each one could get a nice portion of fish soup flavoured with smoke.
Before lunch a meeting with Mezen writers was held in the Literature Lounge in one of the rooms of Glotovo school. The hostess of the Lounge was writer Nina Obreskova who spoke about her creative work and presented her new collection of stories, which also included some essays of Udora district people who risked publishing their works for the first time. Also, writer Alexey Vurdov, poets Anastasia Busheneva and Svetlana Govorukhina demonstrated their pieces of work to the village residents and visitors of the event.
In the Literature Lounge
In the next room Nikolay Shilov and Alexander Borovlyov from Silver Taiga conducted lectures on the history of fishing on the Mezen and the history of cartography. Alexander Borovlyov presented ancient maps of Udora and the Mezen, that had been in use in the times of Ivan the Terrible, comparing them to the maps of following epochs and modern maps. In addition, a meet-the-artist session was held in the school with Elena Doronina, actress of the V.Savin Academic Drama Theater who was born in Glotovo. She told the audience about how she had become an actress, about challenges of her job, and performed some scenes.
Elena Doronina, actress of the V.Savin Academic Drama Theater
Staff of the Udora Central Library conducted an intellectual game based on the popular show What? Where? When?. The Team of Experts was challenged by the Team of the Model River Mezen project. The Team of Experts included young people of Glotovo with Maria Karpova as a leader. They lost the game with the score 8:9, but they tried their best to win, discussed different versions actively, and were often very close to right answers. The debates about one of the questions were so heated that the experts had to exclude the question from the list. As a result, 17 questions were presented instead of 18. The best player, according to the audience and the experts, was Vasily Pavlov. While the best question, according to the players, was asked by Albert Loginov from Bolshaya Pyssa. Singer Anna Ulyanova beautified the game with her wonderful performance of Komi songs.
Team of experts
Komi singer A. Ulyanova
A festive concert was shown at the end of the event with participation of amateur performance teams from Syolyb, Solnechny, Glotovo, Koslan, Butkan, and Bolshaya Pyssa. Anna Ulyanova, Anna Obrezkova, Yulia Deminskaya and Alexander Klokov sang for visitors. Amateur performers had to sing and dance in the rain, but no one left the stage. Spectators were great too, they watched the show till the end, sang and danced, even though they were all wet through.
Kids were amazed at life-size puppets
Almost every participant tried to make a memorable photo
The Silver Taiga Foundation expresses gratitude to all its partners – Koslan Folk Art Center, Syktyvkar Komi Culture Center, Komi Republic Center for Folk Art and Advance Training, the whole staff of Glotovo secondary school and especially its director Anna Kryazhevskaya, who undertook the responsibility for many organizational issues for the event.
Members of Silver Taiga