05 September 2018

Introducing The B11 Sansula

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

11 notes (in any of the exotic B11 tunings), mounted on a sansula resonating body

Introducing The B11 Sansula

People have literally been dreaming about this instrument for over 10 years, and now it is here.

The Sansula, with its 9 charmingly exotic, crystal-clear notes, was an instant hit, but people wanted more - more notes and more musical possibilities. I have heard dozens of people express their wish for a "bigger sansula" and today that instrument is here.

Hokema (its creator) calls it the Melody Sansula, but I call it the B11 Sansula. I think my name tells more about this instrument.

 

14 September 2018

Playing the Sansula 2.0 - Brand New Download

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is the download you've been waiting for

Playing the Sansula 2.0 - Brand New Download

The sansula is a wonderful, mysterious contradiction.

Whatever you play on the sansula sounds great...and the sansula also has a limited capability.

This download goes below the sweet, fluffy outer layer of the sansula's character and gives you the understandings needed to really work the instrument's potential, resulting in a lot more joy and music! Included in the ebook: the essential chord progression and melodies of the sansula in standard tuning; play along with surprisingly diverse chord progressions; accompanying another instrument; and alternative tunings - all these give you and your sansula a much wider scope of possibilities.

This ebook is a total rewrite of the 2009 book "Playing the Sansula." The download is a 53-page PDF containing live links to 49 MP3 sound files and to web pages that can help you to understand how to read tablature or how to tune your sansula.

15 September 2018

The Secret Origins of the Mbira, I

Written by Klara Wojtkowska, Posted in News and Announcements

Legends help us truly feel the origins of instruments and music

The Secret Origins of the Mbira, I

Where do the Mbira and the Karimba come from? It’s easy to say – Zimbabwe. It’s even easier to follow up with – somewhere in Africa. The Zambezi valley. Or, maybe – who knows? Versions of striking metal on wood could perhaps be found anywhere, really. People always find a good excuse and a good way of making music. Why is the history so important? Maybe it isn’t, true. But the legends are very significant, because they tell us about the self-understanding of the people who made them: no musical instrument comes to us without reason, purpose, and style, and those can be woven into the legends.

25 September 2018

Exotic B11 Tunings Overview

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

We have four tunings out now - let's pause and consider

Exotic B11 Tunings Overview

The B11 is a really cool kalimba concept. Even though it has only two more notes than the Sansula on which it was modeled, it can go to many, many more places, musically, emotionally, and vibrationally.

Just as the Sansula does, the B11 naturally leads you down pleasing avenues of discovery. The lower notes work together one way, the upper notes work together another way, and the upper and lower notes can dance together in many ways.

But the arrangement of those notes - the exact order in which they are laid out - has a tremendous effect on a kalimba's music and its meaning to us.  Click through to hear and see the musics that several different B11 kalimba tunings can create.

24 September 2018

Christmas Music Resources

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements, Tips

If you want to perform some Christmas songs on kalimba, start now!

Christmas Music Resources

Over the years, we have created a lot of books, instructional materials, videos, and articles about playing Christmas music on your kalimba.

For your pre-pre-Christmas consideration, I have collected it all in one place for you. If you want to spend money, we have plenty of books and CDs for you to take advantage of. If you don't want to spend money, we have created a lot of free resources, and they are all listed here.

14 September 2018

Bright and Exquisite Original Quilted Kalimba Bags

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

These are made by Louise Sloman-Fuller, now retired from African Musical Instruments in South Africa

Bright and Exquisite Original Quilted Kalimba Bags

Once you have made the investment and bought a nice kalimba, your choices for how to protect it have been somewhat limited.

I have long recommended that kalimba owners who want a protective kalimba case should take a trip to Target in August, visit the "Back to School" section, and purchase a shapely padded lunch bag for under $10.

While the lunch box option is effective and surely economical, it is a bit soulless. Well, at least you didn't buy from Walmart... or did you?

Anyway, I have a much more soulful solution to your kalimba protection and carrying needs.

24 August 2018

KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) Works in Windows 10!

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

You have to run it in compatibility mode

KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) Works in Windows 10!

Do you ever wonder how I create kalimba tablature? Those detailed, elongated maps of the kalimba with note symbols dancing on the tines? I use the Windows program KTabS - the Kalimba Tablature Software. This program changed my life, my productivity, and how the rest of the world learns and creates new kalimba music too!

KTabS is an old program, and for the last few years, the KTabS website indicated the program would not run on the most current Windows operating systems.

But the big news today: I heard from the creators and owners of KTabS, Randy and Sharon Eaton, that KTabS DOES run on computers running Windows 10 - you just have to run it in compatibility mode. Click through to learn how to do that... or to learn why you should have KTabS.

24 August 2018

New Exotic B11 Tuning: The Four WInds

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This one plays in four different scales, without retuning a single note

New Exotic B11 Tuning: The Four WInds

I love to fall in love. Who doesn't? Yes, it is a bit chaotic, and your plans might go out the window, but the blissful feeling of falling in love? Of discovering and sharing each's inner secrets?

That is why I devote myself to exploring new exotic tunings on the various kalimbas - because each new tuning is an opportunity to fall in love.

I can't really tell which kalimba or tuning I will fall in love with, but I know it when it happens. All of a sudden, I understand, and the movement of my thumbs on the tines starts to flow, and we are working as one.

I just fell in love with the B11 "Four Winds" tuning, and I feel happy to be able to present to you four opportunities for you to do the same, all in one kalimba.

13 August 2018

New In Stock - The 17-Note Heart Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is a very sweet, reasonably-priced kalimba

New In Stock - The 17-Note Heart Kalimba in C

The 17-Note Kalimba in C is a great introductory kalimba. In this post you'll read about this new instrument and how it can be the door into the world of the modern kalimba.

The heart-shaped sound hole of the 17-Note Kalimba in C (made in China for Kalimba Magic) represents my love for the kalimba (and I hope it will be the same for you!). Depending on how you look at it, the wood-etched shadow of the heart echoes the stylized forms of a dolphin and a bird, representing wild and free life. The wood-etched stars represent the hope for a sparkly, sparkly future for all people and for all beings on our earth, and for your kalimba playing as well!

The 17-Note has some of its tines painted. Learning why kalimba tines are painted, and how these marked tines are utilized, will give you access to the extensive body of kalimba instructional materials that I have created over the last 14 years. 

 

01 August 2018

Free Tablature: SaReGaMa's Freygish Song

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This will help you learn this challenging karimba solo

Free Tablature: SaReGaMa's Freygish Song

Do you know SaReGaMa's story? He received a Hugh Tracey Karimba as a gift, but it was out of tune, so he started inventing his own tunings. Every few weeks, he would change the notes on the karimba, until it played the kind of music he wanted to play just then. He would play the karimba in its new tuning for a few days and become comfortable with it. Then, he would record and videotape an improvisation on that new karimba tuning.

That is how we got SaReGaMa Lotus, Air, and Freygish tunings.

If you have a Freygish-tuned karimba, I have a treat for you!

12 August 2018

Enjoy This Vintage Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This one plays just as nicely as it did in... oh, 1968? Yes, Virginia, old kalimbas can be made new again!

Enjoy This Vintage Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba

In the 1960s, the Hugh Tracey Treble kalimba was “the thing.” It was new, it was fun, it sounded great.

Hugh Tracey’s sons, Andrew and Paul, both learned to play and love the Treble kalimba. In fact, while Hugh was working on creating this hybrid instrument in Africa before anyone in the world was making commercial kalimbas, he sent Paul one of his first prototype kalimbas while Paul was at boarding school back in England. Hugh admonished Paul not to share this kalimba with anyone. It was top secret. And the kalimba that Paul received was constructed not of wood, but of aluminum! (Just like the aluminum cello of Albert Schweitzer.)

The entire boarding school knew that Paul had gotten a package from his father in Africa, and even the headmaster began to badger him: "SO, what did you get in that box from Africa?" And there sat 15-year-old Paul in his bedroom at night, quietly plucking his brand new, aluminum prototype kalimba’s tines, producing sweet and charming and exotic melodies and harmonies... and there wasn't a single person that he could share it with!

13 July 2018

New Exotic B11 Tuning: The Wizard

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is one magical tuning

New Exotic B11 Tuning: The Wizard

The Hokema B11 Kalimba - also called the "Melody Kalimba" - has a lot of untapped potential. In its standard G major tuning, it does a lot of nice music. But so many other exotic tunings are also possible, and the exotic tunings have not really been explored at all - until now. Today we are looking at the exotic B11 tuning that I call "The Wizard." 

An exotic tuning can take a kalimba to a new and magical place, transforming the music it plays and the experience you have with it.

At Kalimba Magic laboratories, we took all the B11 tunings we could think of and played them all - and then selected the five best tunings. For the next five months, we will present a new exotic B11 tuning, including a recording or video and a short instructional download for each one.

18 July 2018

66 Songs for the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is our standard 66 Songs download that has been reworked for the new 17-Note C Kalimba

66 Songs for the 17-Note Kalimba in C

The 66 songs in the download were taken from various Kalimba Magic collections and modified for use with the 17-Note "Treble" Kalimba in the key of C, which is sold under a great many brand names at this time - Donner and Gecko, among others.  The collections that went into this download include: African American Spirituals, traditional African karimba tunes, Christmas carols, classical pieces, folk and pop music, Americana and patriotic, and some children's songs.

These songs are rated by difficulty, with songs in each category between 1 and 5.

06 June 2018

New Instructional Resources You Can Use to Learn to Play the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Hint: The 10-Note eBooks will work with the 17-Note!

New Instructional Resources You Can Use to Learn to Play the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Is this happening to you? You have one of those new Chinese-made 17-Note kalimbas in the key of C, but you cannot figure out what instructional material to use for it.

You have considered all the possibilities... your new kalimba in C was copied from the Hugh Tracey Treble, so you looked at the books for that, but the Treble kalimba is usually in the key of G and has the 3rd of the scale, B, as the low note. So they don’t work for the 17-Note kalimba in C. You could use Alto kalimba books, but they are in the wrong key too. Yes, you could retune your new kalimba, but that can be a big hassle.

Now, we have the answer to this painful dilemma. We have a new selection of solutions to offer for both beginners and more advanced players. If you are a beginner, we have three downloads that will work for the lowest 10 notes of your kalimba. And if you have some experience playing, we have recast the 66 Song Download into the key of C. Here are the details:

06 June 2018

My Experience Learning to Play on the 10-Note Heart Kalimba

Written by Sara Edelman, Posted in News and Announcements

True confessions of an old musical dog learning new tricks

My Experience Learning to Play on the 10-Note Heart Kalimba

All my life I've been a musician. My family sang together, I played and loved piano (even piano lessons), sang in all kinds of groups growing up, and played recorder, pennywhistle, and a bit of guitar. I mostly sing and play pennywhistle these days. Classical and folk, and world music were and are my stomping grounds.

Reading music was always the key to the door into the musical world. Never a brilliant music reader, I made my way through it and very happily discovered new melodies. In my adult life reading music has not been a focus for me, rather I mostly play and sing by ear with others.

08 June 2018

The Kalimba, its African History, and Black Pride - your "rough" guide

Written by Sara Edelman, Posted in News and Announcements

this exciting presentation takes you on a quick trip through the kalimba's history from its beginnings to present day

The Kalimba, its African History, and Black Pride - your

“The Kalimba, its African History, and Black Pride” is a quick, enjoyable vignette, almost a snapshot, of all the moving parts of the the kalimba’s story. It will engage you and take you on a lively romp that covers ancient and contemporary music, science, and the annals of human history. It is so much fun that you will hardly know how much you’ve just absorbed.

12 July 2018

New Employee at Kalimba Magic

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Mike Ankomeus builds, repairs, tunes, and packs kalimbas

New Employee at Kalimba Magic

I created Kalimba Magic with my hands, my heart, my brain, and my home, and I continue creating and maintaining it too.

But I am happy to say that I have outstanding help, and I'd like to introduce Mike Ankomeus to you.

Mike is a multi-talented musician and all-around interesting guy. In the early 1980s he played in the Air Force Band of the Midwest, a professional touring jazz and rock band. He then got a BA and MA in Music Education from Arizona State University and taught music for several years at John Phillip Sousa Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona.

But aren't you itching to know what makes Mike such a great addition to Kalimba Magic?

21 July 2018

Mark Holdaway, Special Guest on the 'Car Sessions with Karl' series

Written by Sara Edelman, Posted in News and Announcements

Great jamming and a whirlwind tour of Kalimba Magic headquarters

Mark Holdaway, Special Guest on the 'Car Sessions with Karl' series

Karl Von Packal is the host of Car Sessions with Karl, a Youtube phenomenon. Mark is invited by Karl to participate in some jamming in Karl’s vehicle, where Karl has done the same with a variety of other interesting musical monsters, including Mike Ankomeus, Mark’s band mate and employee. Mark also takes us on a quick tour of Kalimba Magic’s humble headquarters, and talks a bit about the kalimba’s story and culture (see the Black History month presentation in this newsletter for much more on this). We are treated with clips of the two musicians improvising some great music while sitting in Karl’s vehicle, covered by several video cameras.

06 June 2018

New In Stock - The 10-Note Heart Kalimba - a great kalimba to start on

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Very economical, high quality, Great for Students, plays great music

New In Stock - The 10-Note Heart Kalimba - a great kalimba to start on

Kalimba Magic is known for selling some of the best kalimbas in the world, but we have been a bit sparse in the student kalimba department. That all changes right now.

We have long known that sooner or later, the Chinese would start manufacturing kalimbas, and, eventually, good ones. That day has arrived, and rather than stick its head in the sand, Kalimba Magic is embracing these new Chinese-made kalimbas - in part because they perfectly fill our gap of entry-level instruments in the Kalimba Magic catalog, and in part because these are really nice kalimbas that I think anyone would be happy to own - a child, a beginning adult, or an experienced player.

 I invite you to check out the 10-Note Heart Kalimba. 

06 June 2018

Learn to Play the 10-Note Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Three high quality instructional downloads will supercharge your kalimba journey

Learn to Play the 10-Note Kalimba

Kalimba Magic has always been the leader in kalimba instructional materials. We take that work to a whole new level with three new instructional PDF files for the  10-Note Heart Kalimba in C. These downloads are formatted for your iPad or tablet, but you can even use them on your smartphone. Each page gives you a bite-sized bit of music - typically four measures long. As this music is all cyclical, you repeat those four measures about a dozen times, becoming more sturdy as you go. If you want to hear what each song or pattern sounds like when played by yours truly, just touch the tablature - an MP3 will be downloaded, and you can play along with me!

11 June 2018

An Interesting Kalimba Purchase Strategy

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Buy the Download First

An Interesting Kalimba Purchase Strategy

I have a few customers who purchase mainly downloads from Kalimba Magic. One wants to get the music because he is interested in using it in his video work. Another just likes to hear what new music is available for the kalimba. But there is a growing group of people who see the downloads as a collection of music that is representative of what a particular kalimba style or tuning has to offer. 

As such, the download is a key that opens some of the secrets that the kalimba has to offer.

23 May 2018

Over the Rainbow

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Free Tablature for Alto, Treble, and Chromatic Kalimbas - and learn about the Secondary Dominant

Over the Rainbow

I never really understood the big deal about "The Wizard of Oz" when I was growing up. We had a black and white TV, and I remember in high school, a friend asked me "Hey, you know how when Dorothy lands in Oz, everything is suddenly in color?" I answered "No..." and suddenly realized part of why I had never gotten the movie! The music from this movie did not become a favorite part of my life as it did for so many.

But when you are a performing musician, it is not always about what pleases you most. In music, you also are playing for the audience. And I can tell you, no song succeeds in touching listeners' hearts quite like "Over the Rainbow" played on a tiny little music box (the kalimba).

11 June 2018

Three Against Two for Structure - 1

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The Fabric of a simple "Three against Two" pattern is strong enough to be the foundation of a song

Three Against Two for Structure - 1

What does "John Huffington" have to do with the classic African three-against-two multi-rhythm?

I don't know a John Huffington, but here's his name, embodied in this rhythmic riff when I play it on the Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba.

When I fall into the groove of this pattern, I hear my kalimba saying  the name "John Huffington."

The three against two pattern requires that one thumb play one thing (three notes) in the same space as the other thumb is playing something else (two notes). And repeat.

You can play this sort of riff on any kalimba. This post gives you a prescription for how to accomplish the feat.

 

29 April 2018

The Hokema Kalimbas have Gone Electric!

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Pickups are now available on nearly all Hokemas

The Hokema Kalimbas have Gone Electric!

The kalimba has always been a cool instrument. Different. Ethnic. New Age. Ancient. And just plain fun.

But throw in an electronic pickup, and you can take the kalimba to a whole new level of FUN.

It is a cliche, but the Germans do build things very well - smooth, precise, shiny... and now great sounding pickups for Hokema's beautiful kalimbas.

Thank you, Peter Hokema!

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