2.2.4. Yábe syo

The personal songs are related functionally to another concept in the song system, namely yábe syo, the drinking song. The word derives from the verb yábes' 'to get drunk'. I have chosen to use a specific entry for these songs, because it is a special concept for songs which are sung when the singer (and the audience) is drunk. Thus, it is more likely to hear someone's personal songs on occasions where alcohol is drunk, and people are less inhibited (cf. Pushkarëva 1988).

These songs are perfomed only when drunk. A yábe syo may be close to one's personal song, but it can be a different song, although an owned song too, depicting a drunk person. A person can boast extravagantly in a drinking song, he/she can pity his/her fate or express erotic feelings (cf. Kupriyanova 1965, 21; Lehtisalo 1947, 584).

Lehtisalo mentions the drinking songs as a variety of fate songs, in which a person describes him-/herself and his/her peculiarities. After having sung it (in a drunken state) and when someone else has heard the song, the song is reborn when someone else sings an interpretation of the song of the previous singer. (cf. Lehtisalo 1936-37, 34) The external difference between a personal song and a drinking song is not necessarily very great; mostly their difference can be seen most clearly in the contexts of composition and performance of the songs.

Lehtisalo (1922, 84) defines the drinking song thus: "[E]very individual has a song of her/his own, where (s)he sort of displays her/himself and her/his special personal features. These songs are often quite short, but they may be long as well, if a Samoyed is portraying some special event in her/his life; an adventurous seal hunt on an drifting ice-floe, etc."

The next song is a personal song with a performance feeling of a yábe syo: the expressive melody line and a slightly boastful text. At the same time, this song is an example of the singing style of the Forest Nenets, although it must be said, that here also, the question of the style itself is more easily explained on the individual than regional level.

Example 6. (340Kb, 31 sec.) We"la Lyechamang sho.
Performed by Polina Turutina (née Ngäywashyeta), Tarko-Sale 1990.
Recording, transcription of the text, translation into Russian and commentary by Inna Wello.
Further transcription, translation into English and transcription of the singing by J. Niemi.

We"la mantinyiwey ngey,                                  I am (from) We"la (family) speaking,
Lyechama We"lowLow ngey,                            Lyechama We"la,
nyimyi ka... nyimyi dyanta käywey(m) ngey,               I am very much
dyotaLpyota nyaLow ngey,                              delighted,
taLyam màntinatye... na...tyey ngey(ng),                  that
Kitumo"ma We"low ngey,                                my son, Kitumo"ma We"la,
patinana We"low ngey,                                   will be a literate We"la.
Tyumyenyeha... anow ngey,                               In Tyumen',
nyeshamta pitow ngow ngey,                              a Nyesha he is,
We"la mantinow...                                        It is We"la speaking...