Spoko stands for Stopped Pipe Keyboard Organ. It’s the keyboard version of a sibling instrument called Spomo, which is a stopped pipe mouth organ. While pipe organs usually use bellows or other pumped air sources, both Spomo and Spoko are mouth-blown. This allows more intimacy and expressiveness in the sound. It also creates challenges, as small variations in air pressure can lead to inconsistent intonation. Spoko’s pipes are stopped cylindrical plastic tubes provided with fipple mouthpieces borrowed from the inexpensive plastic recorder-like flutes called Flutophones. The keyboard, in the familiar 7-5 configuration, is hand-made of wood. The valving mechanism, allowing air to flow when a key is pressed, involves segments of latex tubing which are squashed closed when the spring-mounted key is at rest and allowed to open when the key is pressed. Spoko is a humble instrument; simple, small, conveniently portable.

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