Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Original African Mbira - The Student Karimba
African Music with Just Eight Notes

Student Karimba

I invite you to listen to the Student Karimba. This one is in the G major tuning. Even though this is an improvisation and not a traditional African piece, it is in the style of African karimba music. The music repeats a phrase several times (four I think in this case), and then moves on to a more complicated variation of the initial phrase. The music proceeds through several variations, until at 1:30 the truth comes out - this isn't an 8-note Student Karimba, but the full 17-note Hugh Tracey Karimba. Do you hear those high notes coming in? Those ones aren't on the Student Karimba. But all the music up to that point is made with the 8 basic notes. This demonstrates how the 8-note Student Karimba can be a bridge to the full 17-note karimba, and how the 8 basic notes of the Student Karimba contain the essence of the music that is played on the 17-note karimba.

Kalimba Magic has come out with a new book that helps you play this original African mbira - but now we call it the Student Karimba. Over the next several weeks, we'll find out more about what is in this new book.