Eight years ago, the South African World Cup was soundtracked by the blaring noise of the vuvuzela; trumpet-like plastic instrument that took on the sound of a swarm of angry bees when thousands of supporters got together.
For 2018’s tournament, the Russian hosts are hoping their own traditional instrument can provide a unique, aurally evocative atmosphere.
The humble wooden spoon.
Known as ‘lozhkas’, these objects are played by clacking them together – and they were chosen as the tournament’s official instrument for their ability to drum out a rhythm that won’t totally dominate proceedings.
Use of the lozhka in Russian music dates back to the 18th century, and they are still commonly used in performances of traditional Russian folk music, and sometimes even in orchestras.
Usually a player will be equipped with three or more of the wooden spoons, striking the two in their left hand with the one in their right.
A variety of subtly different sounds can be produced depending on the technique used to hit the spoons, and advanced players can even alter the timbre of the sound produced by holding the ‘bowl’ of the spoon being struck more or less tightly.
‘Spoons of Victory’
Purchasing traditional wooden spoons might not be attractive prospect for the average football fan, so a colourful plastic alternative has been designed ahead of the tournament.
The colourful spoons will be sold in pairs, joined at the end to allow for easier clicking, and have been branded as “Spoons of Victory”.
“When we were choosing an instrument which is typically Russian and which reflects Russian cultural values, we had a choice of three: a treshchotka (clapper), a shaker and a lozhka,” said designer Rustam Nugmanov, who received government backing to produce the spoons.
Nugmanov also voiced his disapproval of the caxirola, the rattle seen at the Brazilian World Cup four years ago.
“That sounds like a beehive and is a very loud instrument and also does not allow you to clap a rhythm.
“We have chosen spoons.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews.
[Main image: Shutterstock]