This is a chest resonator, of which the tuning seems to vary between a quartertone
below and a quartertone above F3. It consists of a sound box made of half a
coconut that rests on the player’s chest, a wooden part, parallel to the chest, on which one
string is fixed, and a piece of bamboo that connects the coconut to the wood. In the past,
the string was made from the enau, the same tree from which the yori is made.
As in many other Wana musical compositions, melodies played on this instrument are limited in range to the interval of a fourth (F-B) and, like many other Wana compositions, the player alternates linear melodic intervals and repeated notes (the intial F and the final G). Similar melodic structures can be also found in the songs. The melodies of this instrument are very repetitive and, again, the timbre is the main feature of this instrument; in fact, it has a particularly evanescent sound.
A masculine counterpart of the tulali, these two instruments are present in the founding myth of death and in courtship practices. Also, like the flutes, it can be decorated with the same geometric patterns that are meant to attract the attention of the opposite sex. In fact, these are the only two decorated instruments in the Wana tradition, and their uniqueness again points to a powerful love call.
As Apa Ingus told me: There is a woman in Taronggo who, caught in jealousy, has burned her husband’s popondo.
Indo Pino added that: When a man plays the popondo under a woman’s house, she will know what the man wants to drink or eat.
Atkinson discusses how these instruments are connected to the world of spirits: “It is not uncommon for one who is skilled at playing a musical instrument such as flute or 99 stringed chest resonator to play haunting and plaintive songs to attract hidden beings” (Atkinson 1989: 54). There are strong connections between Wana music and the nonvisible; ritual instruments recall the spirits, the balo pombongo evokes war, while the tulali and the popondo call up love.