A unique opportunity to purchase a used ceremonial yiḏaki made by a senior lawman and prominent artist, Buwathay Munyarryun; you can listen to him as leading songman on the Mulka Archives – Yilan recording, accompanied on yiḏaki by Bibibak Munuŋgurr.
The entire body of the instrument is wrapped in electrical tape, that is a common practice nowadays on instruments that are used by Yolŋu players for a shorter or longer periods of time. The reason behind 'taping' is simple: the plastic tape protects the timber body of the instrument and helps to avoid, or seal cracks that can occur due to extensive use. This is particularly important during ceremonies, that go on for days or weeks, so the instruments are played for hours at a time by several players. The multiple layers of tape on this yiḏaki suggests that it was used by different players for months or perhaps years.
When I asked Buwathay about the history of this instrument, he said, this is his own ceremonial yiḏaki and now, that it served its purpose, he wanted to pass it on via the Yirrkala art centre; that to me - knowing Buwathay as a senior songmen who carefully selects yiḏaki to accompany him during ceremony - signifies the acoustics properties of this unique specimen.
The body of the instrument is perfectly tapered, the chamber is open all the way through, and naturally hollowed. The backpressure is quite high, but, in saying that, the high pressure is due to the length of the instrument, not the confined space along the neck - that is an important distinction. The sound has high volume, it is rich in overtones and quite sharp.
I recommend this yiḏaki for players who wish to deep-dive into the traditional playing styles and have a real taste of what kind of playing characteristics Yolŋu players prefer.
Mouthpiece internal diameter: 3.2cm
Available from Sydney, Australia with worldwide shipping
For details and specifications see 'Additional information
' tab below.
Listen to this yiḏaki here: