Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde Flag courtesy of Cristian Steinmann
Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde is a 43 square mile island in Scandinavian waters. The island has a very interesting past. The population is 571.
To understand Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde de we must refresh our memory of social structures centuries ago. Prior to ‘so called’ nations, the world was pretty much a myriad of tiny independent states. These states covered small geographic sections and were owned by a family. These states were populated by peasants who leased the land from the landowner. This landowner received a portion of the crops raised and in return for protecting the peasants, the peasants showed loyalty to the landowner. Eventually through various events, countries formed as some landowners became subject to another landowner. In this case, the landowners who were subject to wealthier landowners became known lesser royalty while the wealthiest assumed titles of Kings and Queens.
Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde was rooted centuries ago. A wealthy landowner (his name possibly lost through the span of time) took the usual step to marriage. A marriage had significant political bearing as the couple could combine their power to become elevated in their position. The share of wealth each brought to the marriage was designed to increase wealth for both families.
The land baron’s wife, in her portfolio, had a 43 square mile island that was deemed virtually worthless. It was considered too poor for farming and had always been uninhabited, it was thought. The land baron had, among his tenants, several less desirable families. To note, they were not very good at farming the land, seemed to not hold much loyalty toward the landowner and collecting his percentage of crops was always a chore. Knowing he could not easily shuffle these folks on to a nearby landowner, he devised a plan to rid his property of the least desirable and most troublesome tenants.
The couple, convinced the island must have some value if it could be worked, decided to offer larger tracts of land at a very low rent to these less desirable families. The thinking was transporting them to the island was a good investment that would pay off in additional power and wealth in the decades to come.
It did not take much to sell the families on this island. They were eager for the better farmers to take their plot while they would get a much larger piece of land on the island. As the families were convinced, a small crew was sent to the island to survey it and figure the parcels. Some feel the crew went only by a map, not the actual island in dividing the land. For certain, this group knew nothing of farming. Some of the island was never surveyed and was, thus considered public land. After the crew returned, the families were ready to strike out for their new home.
The families, numbering around 75, suffered stormy seas, but arrived at the island in the late summer
Once on the islands, the families sought out their lands and quickly discovered some received better land than others. Disputes arose but were settled once it was learned the land was so poor in quality, most crops grown from the seeds that were transported with their possessions, failed to produce. People searched for any edible foods and quickly discovered various wild berries growing in considerable quantity. A bee hive was discovered and some of the honey was harvested. The first year was not easy with nearly half of the group dying before the following summer concluded. Luckily, the animals had birthed during this time and some land was found to be good for farming. The problem was a lack of seed. This lack of seed is remembered in their coins as we shall discover.
To pay for their passage, the landowner was to send collectors each year to gather the rent. The islanders were pretty angry with the landowner, feeling they had been duped into moving to the island. The deaths of neighbors and family members was fresh on their mind. It would have been likely they would have killed those sent to collect. By some twist of fate, the collectors did not arrive. Nobody can say for sure, but one old story says the landowner became ill and died before sending the collectors out for the first payment.
After a few years, some believe it was five years, a ship arrived claiming to being sent by the landowner’s wife, to collect the share of rent. Those in the party demanded several years worth of payment which they could not afford. Several of this group were killed and a few asked to live among the islanders, apparently smitten by some of the young ladies. The islanders do not know if any of the collectors ever returned but this was the only time the islanders were asked to pay rent.
One has to review the life of the rural Scandinavian of the past to get a feel for life on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde. As the years passed, a pastoral life of raising animals and growing crops prevailed. Land disputes had been handled and all the families had a fairly equal shot at providing for their family.
As is typical in earlier times, animals, mostly cows, goats and sheep are raised. Crops are planted to provide food for the animals and family. The land is void of fencing which permit’s the animals to go where they want. To solve the wandering animal problem, each family composed their own wordless song the animals learned. Since food usually followed, the animals, even if out of sight, would come to the person singing the song the animals knew. You might ask why they sang instead of just calling the animals home. It is factual that singing loudly travels further than spoken word.
This type of singing is called ‘kulning’. It is still preserved today, not only on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde.
Because there were no fences, animals could easily trample or eat crops raised during the short growing season, so sending the cattle off to a summer pasture was wise. Each summer, the young girls of a family would take their animals to the more rugged portion of the island where each family has a certain section of land. The cattle were grazed here in the warmer months. Once the crops were harvested, the young girls and the animals returned.
‘Kulning’ was especially important in the remote summer pastures. Wild animals were always a threat and the limited sight meant animals could easily get lost. The singing kept animals nearby and predators far enough away. Still, in the summer pastures, just like at the homestead, problems arose. This style of singing was a version of the telephone. There were uniform ‘calls’ that were used to indicate when an animal had been lost or when a person needed help. Not only the animals knew the family songs but the people did as well. As was the custom, a visitor or someone passing across your land, would announce their presence by ‘kulning’.
While ‘kulning’ was primarily done by women and girls, the men also would sing when the need arose.
‘Kulning’ is still practiced today as well as the pastoral lifestyle. It might be said time left Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde behind long ago. Life on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde is virtually unchanged from centuries ago.
Geographically, Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde is 43 square miles. The southern part of the island tends to be lower in elevation while the northern region is made up of more defined hills and valleys. The center of the island, considered rolling hills, is generally best for farming and like the middle and northern areas, has a number of small fresh water springs. The southern areas are gently rolling and a bit sandier, making this region a great growing area for berries that grow wild on the island. While the southern region has few trees, the middle has a few stands of trees but the northern region is noted for its many small forests. Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde, in short, ended up having all the requirements of a pastoral life. Ironically, the islanders never took to the waters around the island to sustain them.
This opens up something that amazes me. The people of Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde remained virtually invisible to the world around them. One could easily question what government is responsible for the islanders and that answer can be had easily by geography, but as far as involvement, outside government interference is nil. You might say, by default, Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde is an independent nation, forced by a lack of interference, to take on the role themselves. This lack of showing up on some government’s radar is brought home by the fact the island was never invaded in either World War. Locals note there were landings by foreign nations during these wars, but no army swept across the island to discover what was there or if an opposing army was based there. One can only wonder why.
Places like Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde baffle me. As modern advances were made almost every place on earth, why was Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde not a part of this mix. Why would it be that an electrical system, telephone system and such not be installed on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde? Why are there no banks, medical facilities, police, organized government and even a post office? Why would the island be left off from the ports of call for passing vessels? I do not know the answer but I suspect it is because there has been not even a murmur from the islanders to the outside world.
Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde is unique in that no towns developed. Even today it is entirely rural. One does not find shops and stores as such operates from homes. Even government is loosely organized. As is the case on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde, there are a number of small churches that double as a school. There is a church for about every 10 families. The pastor is always one of the men of one of the families. It is through the church that any government functions. Representatives take issues church by church on matters that affect the whole island. Even disputes are taken to neighboring churches. Unique to the area, a person or family found to be guilty of some infraction is offered a way to make amends. Should they refuse to comply or continue with additional infractions, the family is shunned. The family is not allowed to come to church or school or any area gatherings. Once the family begins to make amends and asks for forgiveness, they are welcomed back in the fold.
As for religion, it would be difficult to define the denomination of Christianity but it is factual to say the weekly service is a big event in the lives of the families. Religion is a part of daily life with the man of the home typically conducting a devotional with the family daily. The father teaches his children the stories of the Bible.
Schooling is unorganized and conducted by the lady of the home with all the ladies taking part in instructing children. One would think the quality of education would be poor, but the opposite is true. The typical child is very well versed in practical knowledge and to a slightly lesser degree, academic knowledge. In fact, the typical graduate can speak the local language as well as any combination of Swedish, Finnish, German and English. English, they feel, is an international language.
The language native to Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde is Sjal. Erik Olsen, believed to be the foremost expert internationally on the Sjal language, has provided considerable assistance on the language.
The islanders are avid readers. Families are known to have a bookshelf crammed with handwritten books. Bibles were handwritten as were other books a family felt were important. Family histories are recorded in book form. It is still fairly common for a book to be borrowed so it may be copied by another family. There are a few that offer transcription services because they are known for their legible writing and accuracy. Daily journals are frequently kept, detailing many facts of everyday life for the family and community. Songbooks are also among the collection as are hymnals.
Social life is centered around the family, but frequent gatherings are held among neighbors. A ‘pot-luck’ style feast where each family contributes food is typically highlighted by a hired ‘diddler’ where participants dance the evening away. A ‘diddler’ is the poor man’s fiddler. A ‘diddler’ mimics the fiddle, using his voice instead of a fiddle. Musical instruments were virtually unknown on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde although the willow flute, made from a twig of the willow tree, birch flute carved by hand and animal horn comprise instrumental music. Such instruments are intended for smaller audiences than at a party.
While on the subject of music, the art of storytelling in song is very popular. Children are frequently taught using song. Even adults light up with lengthy story songs finding themselves as intrigued as the children around the campfire as someone tells a scary story. Sometimes a few act out the story in dance with emphasis on enhancing the words visually.
Another part of many gatherings is young ladies singing. The voice of a lady is especially pleasing to the men, so young ladies develop their own song, trying to sing it in a way to catch the heart of a young man.
Not much has changed over the years, however a small fishing vessel stops at the island every month, mostly to buy local honey, some cheese and products made from the wild berries. In return, the ship brings what few supplies the islanders need and any mail.
Back in the early 1990s, the people desired a better way to communicate, so a small radio station was built and islanders received radios that accept batteries or can be hand cranked. The radio station is one the air a few hours each week with traditional music of the island, announcements and messages. The staff set out to record all the local music they could find and the library now exceeds 500 hours of recordings.
Some of the homes now have electric generators and a few have indoor plumbing. Water is still drawn from pumps, mostly hand pumps.
The 571 people still live on their small farms that dot the island. There are no towns or villages or concentrated areas.
Visitors to the island are very, very few. The only access is by the monthly fishing vessel visit. Even this must be arranged through a family on the island. The visitor will be the guest of the family during that month. While a guest may pay for the hospitality, it is proper to join the family in daily work. Typically an exchange of some money, gifts for the family and sharing in the chores is the most favored combination. The visitor gets extra points by bringing photos and some books, especially if you include a nice Bible for the family. It seems the Bibles are greatly appreciated. One might want to include a few non-perishable foods too.
KULNING & MUSIC
One can easily type in Kulning on a search engine and pull up samples of kulning. The hauntingly beautiful sound resonates on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde.
On the island, every household has its own kulning song. A version for each type of animal exists. The family’s song is sung when approaching other homes, sort of a way of announcing yourself as you pass through someone’s land. “Calls” or “Sirens” are a form of kulning that is common to all on the island. Each “Call” represents a distinct issue. All sing the same “Call” when an animal is lost. Another “Call” is sung when there is some form of emergency requiring the help of neighbors. To put this in today’s perspective, a “Call” is like phoning a universal emergency phone number for help (ie: 911).
The spoken word does not travel as far as singing. It is in your best interest to sing instead to yell words when you need help.
Kulning is loud. It is a high pitched wordless music.
Kulning also serves as a form of entertainment, especially for the younger ladies while they tend the animals away from home amid the summer pasture. Improvisations on the family kulning song is common.
As is typical in such societies, the singing of songs is a favorite pastime. The most popular are the story songs. Most are about double the length of the typical pop song and lack the repeating chorus. These songs are sung without accompaniment because music instruments required the player to use their mouth to play the instrument.
This brings us to music on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde . Music is almost exclusively performed solo. The instruments are few and handmade. These include the cow horn and goat horn made from the antlers of these animals and contain holes as the typical horn or flute. Next is the birch flute which resembles the tin whistle of Ireland in sound. A few have created a pan flute made of various lengths of birth wood. Next is the willow flute, the most limited of all the instruments since a willow flute can only be played during the time of year when the willow branch contains enough sap and can only be played until the sap dries out. To ready the willow branch, the branch is rolled in the hand until the bark separates from the wood. The player blows across and into the stick to change the tone with the sap providing the sound as air is forced between the bark and wood. A couple of people have a jews harp.
Next in the music portfolio is ‘diddling’. This has been called ‘poor man’s fiddling’ because Scandinavian families without the money to hire a fiddler for a dance would hire a ‘diddler’. A ‘diddler’ mimics a fiddle with his voice. The Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde ‘diddler’ certainly has song songs passed down that were played on fiddle, but for the most part, the ‘diddler’ would create their own melodies, usually fast paced for dancing. ‘Diddlers’ have a long tradition of gathering to learn new material from other ‘diddlers’. Any gathering will have one or more ‘diddler’ who is paid a small wage plus tips. As discussed in the money section, the tradition is for all participants to give at least one coin to the ‘diddler’ but requests are met with at least one more coin. An especially good ‘diddler’ may receive a few coins from most of the guests making for a fairly high payment for a few hours of entertaining.
The youth, especially, love to gather to sing story songs and play musical instruments. The best singers are the ones who are most expressive in singing the lyrics. Since unexpected twists sometimes occur in these songs, surprising the group is especially enjoyed.
The young women mesmerize the boys with their vocal quality and improvisations on their kulning song. The girls like to sing beside a pond or in a valley because of the echo effect or depth the pond gives to the voice as it carries over water.
The singing of religious songs is also popular with family devotionals. It is said the hymns are old versions from the 1600s and 1700s. The typical family has at least a morning or evening, if not both morning and evening family devotional containing a Bible reading, prayer and singing a hymn. The hymns are found in handwritten books cherished by the families.
The people of Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde seem totally unaffected by modern music although they seem to enjoy classical music, especially those pieces that seem to create a visual picture. Scandinavian composers seem to be preferred.
One of the reasons Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde has been left behind, it has been said, is the singing that has been heard by passing ships. In earlier days superstition surrounded the unknown. Many who cruised past Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde thought the singers were casting evil spells or the voices belonged to spirits seeking a human host. Most point out the citizens of Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde never took to the sea and settled on lands they were given. As a result, from the sea the island does not appear to be inhabited. The lack of towns or even clusters of homes further enforces the error that Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde was uninhabited. The land near the shore is sandy and left in a wild state as berry proliferate along the coastline. The inner sections of the island is populated with the more rugged northern hills used for summer grazing.
LENDIRRO RIKKIIVANNEN A-KOUTIVANNEN MÅÅDE MONEY
A seed might seem but a seed, however on Lendirro Rikkiivannen a-Koutiivannen Mååde the seed is a symbol of life. It is a way to grow the food needed to survive on the island. Thus, it is only natural the local currency would be named Kernan, or seeds.
It has been said a small jar of seeds or a small bag of seed was the original exchange rate for the Kernan, but it is not known what the specific details were. That information has been long forgotten. To simplify things, the islanders refer to the Kernan as a small number of seeds you might receive in a commercial seed packet sold at a typical garden or hardware store although this is but an attempt to explain the denomination value and is not an accurate portrayal of the value of the Kerna against other currencies, but may be an indication of the buying power of the denomination locally.
To attribute an actual value to the Kerna is quite difficult. It is an isolated denomination that never traded outside the island. In fact, it only has value on the island itself. In essence, it is a local currency in its purest form.
For the value of the Kernan, we can only speculate. It seems the typical day’s work is valued at around 25 Kernan. With no true form of reference, such as minimum wage, we can only speculate. We can only assume values. For example, a loaf of bread might cost as little as 1/2 Kernan. We assume these ‘prices’ would vary depending on the agricultural output of the island with prices being cheaper in good years and higher in bad years.
Even so, the denomination has an established exchange rate of 192 per US Dollar as of 01 January 2010.
The number of coins in circulation in believed to be just under 400,000 or just under $7,250 in US Dollars. Coins in the denominations of ½ , 1 and 2 have been produced since 1875. The coins have always been made of base metals since the inception of the local currency.
The number of coins actually produced since 1875 is unknown, but collectors have been frustrated because worn coins are typically melted to make coins that carry the year of issue. As a result, coins from early dates are very rare. To add to the confusion, the number of coins minted is clouded by older coins being melted and not counted as a new issue because they are made from worn coins that carried earlier dates. As a result, mintages are guesses. For example, if a bunch of worn coins were melted in 1995 to make new coins, there would be no record of a 1995 issue, although newly struck coins were issued from worn coins during that year. Coin issues are made more difficult to determine because worn coins may be melted and reissued more than once each year. Even with numerous issues in one year, several years could pass before old coins are either melted or new coins not made from older coins are issued. We understand no new coins were issued for a period of 47 years although at one point, almost 30 years into this gap in new coin issues, a great number of worn coins were melted and minted. This was marked as a period when paper scrip replaced coins, likely as a ‘carryover’ while worn coins were melted and restruck.
The coins have other uses. Children use them as currency. A ‘diddler’ at a dance is shown appreciation by giving a few coins. The same is the custom when visiting someone’s house when hospitality is shown. The pastor at the Church is given coins by those attending is much the same way an American would leave a gratuity for the waitperson at a restaurant. A boy would give a girl a coin or two to show his interest and the list of transactions continues. In short, the coins are not just for monetary purposes but traditional or societal reasons as well.
A few paper notes, crude and hastily made, have circulated, presumably as small change or to supplement in times when new coins were being struck.
Compiled by Bill Turner - 2010