Hugh Tracey was a busy man - not only did he study and record traditional African instruments and start a business that made kalimbas and export them to the world, but he also collected and told African stories. Now these stories are available to you in a book that contains 25 stories in 126 pages, with some illustrations and some musical notation.
These stories are strange and yet delightful and engaging, and this book is like a time capsule, going back to the time these stories were collected in the 1930s through 1950s. If you are interested in learning African stories, this is a great resource.
You can purchase The Lion on the Path two CD set, featuring high quality recordings of Hugh Tracey telling these 25 stories on the radio from Durban in the 1940s and 1950s, for $25. At $1 per story, it is well worth hearing Dr. Tracey's voice telling these rich, traditional African stories.
Loved by adults and children alike.
When Steve Catania started making kalimbas, he realized that he needed some instructional materials to help sell the kalimbas. He made an easy-to-use system: the book includes the words to well-known songs such as "Oh, Susanna!" and "Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore," with the number of the note that should be played written above each syllable of each word. When you also write the number on each kalimba tine, e.g., 1 for "Do" 2 for "Re," it is a very simple system for even very young folks to follow. If you don't believe me, read this month's article on teaching kids.
Steve has two books, one for his 8-Note kalimbas, and one for his 12-Note kalimbas. Steve and I have now teamed up to offer a CD to go with his 8-Note book. I've started with Steve's arrangements from his book, and have recorded them on the 8-Note Catania Gourd Piano nearly note-for-note first time through. Second time through, I loosen up and show what you can do with an 8-Note kalimba using melody, harmony, texture, counterpoint, chords, and rhythm - all the little things that are just a bit too complicated for the numbers-based system. My goal: Inspire an entire generation to become great kalimba players!
Listen to There Was a Crooked Man
Listen to Sweet Betsy From Pike
Eric Freeman turned me onto using Shea Butter as a wood conditioner for kalimbas. Take a small dab of it and work it into the wood on each face of your kalimba with a rag, let it soak into the wood for 20-60 minutes, and then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. This will keep your kalimba wood moisturized, and will reduce the chances of the wood cracking. It will also darken the color of the kalimba wood, enhancing its natural beauty, and over time, repeated shea butter applications will make the kalimba wood denser, increasing the sustain of the kalimba notes.
You can get 1.5 oz, which will last a long time, for $8, or a 0.25 oz sample of Shea Butter for $1.75. Shea butter will keep almost indefinitely if stored in a refrigerator. It also works as a hand, foot, and skin conditioner. Not to be taken internally.
We now have three Premium Hugh Tracey kalimbas for sale.
I end up rejecting about 1% of Hugh Tracey kalimbas due to cracks, defective pickups, broken screws, or maybe just crummy sound. Most of the kalimbas I receive are consistently a very good quality. But then there is the occasional kalimba that really stands out and speaks to me—it's a kalimba that I wish I could make my own (as if I need another kalimba). These outstanding kalimbas comprise about 1-2% of my incoming stock.
Last month, I decided to use these superior kalimbas to fund the nonprofit work of Kalimba Magic in Africa. Any funding obtained from the sales of these Premium Kalimbas will be sent to a special fund at African Musical Instruments (AMI) that will cover school fees for the children of AMI workers and half of the medical expenses beyond the half already paid by AMI.
If you purchase a Premium Kalimba, know that you are getting a top shelf kalimba. You can also know that 100% of the money you are paying for that kalimba is going straight back to Africa to directly benefit the people who made that kalimba. Doesn't that feel good?!
As the most important detail for playing well is being spot on in tune, every kalimba sold by Kalimba Magic has been precision tuned (unlike most kalimbas you may buy elsewhere). Additionally, many of the kalimbas we sell come with tuning charts so that you can understand how to keep your own kalimba in tune. The Hugh Tracey Alto and Treble kalimbas come with great inserts, which not only instruct you how to tune the instrument, but also provide a few simple songs and ancillary info about your new kalimba.
But sometimes an insert can get misplaced or lost or damaged. So Kalimba Magic is now offering replacement tuning charts for $1, including shipping and handling.
We currently have in stock three Celeste Pentatonic kalimbas, one with pickup, which feature wood burn art depicting scenes from rural South African life.
If you are interested in owning one of these kalimbas, they are available at the Kalimba Magic Shop for $80 without pickup, $95 with pickup.