49 Voices: Maurice Nanalook of Bethel

Maurice Nanalook of Bethel. (Photo by Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Bethel)

This week we’re hearing from Maurice Nanalook of Bethel. Nanalook was one of several drummers at this year’s Cama-i Dance Festival.

NANALOOK: My grandpa taught me before I was able to walk. Actually most of the drums that are here were made by me. I use, how many different types of wood?Hickory, oak, ash and maple every now and then. Actually it’s a long process. I usually cut ’em into strips first to the thickness that I like, depending on whether I’m using them for fabric skins or stomachs.

Most of the stomachs that I get are from the coast here, when they catch walrus or beluga whales. Brings me back to the tradition of how they used to make them back then. You never ever really see stomach drums around here ever.

There’s quite a bit of favorites that I have from each different group, but one of my favorites would have to be the song that I composed for my brother.

I have three sons. My oldest two are drumming right now. My youngest one is a little too young for that, but once he does get older, he already loves beating on the drum.