02 April 2016

The Definitive Collection of Traditional African Karimba Music

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This 74-page PDF download has the music to about 30 traditional tunes

The Definitive Collection of Traditional African Karimba Music

This is one of the books I've been wanting to write for around five years, and now, with much-appreciated contributions from Ivodne Galatea, I am proud to present this collection of tunes for the African-tuned karimba.

This book is written from the point of view that the karimba is a living relic; I believe that instruments were played over 1000 years ago that had very similar note layouts to the lower half of the modern karimba . This means that the music in this collection could be very similar to the music that people in Africa played more than a millenium in the past. Now, don't you want to get some of that?

 

24 March 2016

Learn "Vana Vanogwara" on Karimba - Chiwoniso

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Learn the Song Vanavogwara on Karimba

Learn

In 2013, a legendary figure in African music was suddenly taken from us. Chiwoniso Maraire was a shining light, a great singer and a great player of the mbira nyunga nyunga, also known as the African tuned karimba.

Her instrument of choice is of interest to us for two reasons. Andrew Tracey hypothesizes that this is the original mbira first made in southern Africa some 1300 years ago. But Chiwoniso had a more personal connection to this instrument - the mbira nyunga nyunga was the instrument played, and made famous in America, by her father, Dumisani Maraire - or Dumi as his friends knew him.

08 March 2016

The Story of the Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The history of the thumb piano in Africa and how the kalimba got to be a household name

The Story of the Kalimba

I just gave a presentation on the kalimba at the OLLI-UA  (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arizona) in Tucson, and decided to share with you the Powerpoint of the presentation (actually it's a PDF of the Powerpoint).  A great thing about this 45 page PDF presentation is that it has many clickable links to interesting sound recordings and YouTube videos, which really make the presentation come alive.  One negative is that at a number of places, I made instructions to myself to play a certain song, or show a particular kalimba; these instructions are not presently linked to anything, so these parts of the presentation will be missing for the time being.

26 February 2016

Learn the Afroharp Now

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This new instructional download takes you from simple to amazing in 46 pages!

Learn the Afroharp Now

The Afroharp is a legendary 13-note, two level kalimba created and manufactured for a short period in late 1960s Chicago.  Because we feel that the Afroharp is a valuable and compelling instrument, Kalimba Magic has been selling new instruments in the Afroharp tuning for several months. 

08 March 2016

The Kalimbula - An Electric Ceramic Sansula

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

I've been having fun experimenting with tunings again...

The Kalimbula - An Electric Ceramic Sansula

The Kalimbula is a cool instrument that I've been enjoying playing in a variety of tunings.  I have tried all of the canonical sansula tunings, including the C Major I use in this video with new Kalimbula music.

29 February 2016

Backing Tracks from Kalimba Magic Videos

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

You can jam along to these tracks with several different kalimbas

Backing Tracks from Kalimba Magic Videos

When I make a video of the kalimba, I often feel the kalimba needs support from other instruments, so I add some guitar or bass or rhythm tracks to get some lower sounds in the mix.  I have remixed those support tracks from five of my recent videos.  Most of them have a few seconds of kalimba in the beginning to help you get oriented in the song, and then the kalimba drops out and all that is left is the supporting instruments that should sound really good when you add your own kalimba playing.

How do you know which kalimba to use for which track?  We give you hints about several different kalimbas or tunings that will work for each.  You may very well have a kalimba that will work with one or more of these songs, and if you are willing to retune your kalimba, you can definitely make it work.

I'll also share a little secret about how I record this music - it will probably surprise you! 

13 January 2016

Introducing the Hang-9 Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Exploring the wide collection of handpan tunings on a simple kalimba

Introducing the Hang-9 Kalimba

The handpan drums such as the Hang and the Halo are very magical instruments, in large part because of the really cool tunings they come in.   However, they have certain drawbacks - the multi-thousand dollar price tag, the waiting lists, and their inability to change tunings come to mind.

The Hang-9 is a brand new kalimba offered only by Kalimba Magic that encapsulates the tunings and note layouts of the handpan drums in an inexpensive kalimba that can be retuned to any of the tunings. The Hang-9 was given this name because it has 9 notes which are based on the tunings of the Hang drum and other handpan drums. Continue on to hear what the Hang-9 sounds like.

13 January 2016

Mahororo - a Shona Mbira Song

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Learn to play this traditional Mbira song on Karimba or Alto Kalimba

Mahororo - a Shona Mbira Song

This is my favorite song from the 11 Advanced Traditional Karimba Songs Download. I think you'll love playing this song as much as I do, and I put together a more accessible version than the original.

"Mahororo" could mean "victory", or it could mean "baboons talking", depending on who you believe (from Ivodne Galatea's notes in the instructional download).

I recently learned this song, and I shifted the notes down a 5th. I include a video I made of Mahororo "freestyle", and I am giving away tablature for this song on the Alto and Karimba.  The tablature has a lot of variations that I don't touch in the freestyle video.

07 January 2016

Exploring Pentatonic Tunings

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Pentatonic tunings are culturally and musically important. We present new kalimba video of three different tunings for the pentatonic kalimba

Exploring Pentatonic Tunings

Aboriginal peoples all across the globe have used pentatonic scales in their music.  One of Hugh Tracey's fundamental findings was that about 40% of all the kalimbas he documented in his expeditions across Africa were tuned to pentatonic scales.

Find out what makes the pentatonic scales so essential!

20 January 2016

New Kalimba Magic Tips Series

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

We are creating a set of Tips to help you find your way on the kalimba

New Kalimba Magic Tips Series

We have been making some very valuable tips available, that can help your playing and give you a much richer kalimba experience.  If you have any issues at all with your kalimba - if it has a buzz or it is out of tune, or you are having a hard time learning how to play it - continue reading, and the landing page will link you to the new Tips Series at Kalimba Magic. 

12 January 2016

Getting the Most out of Your Alto and Lotus

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The easiest way to get the most relevant information for your kalimba

Getting the Most out of Your Alto and Lotus

Announcing new informational PDF downloads for the Alto and for the Lotus.  These PDF files contain live links to all the information you need to keep your kalimba or karimba operating in top order.  Furthermore, each download includes a comprehensive list of the instructional resources available for that instrument.  This download is included with each Alto or Lotus sold.

Or you could just download them now!

05 January 2016

Interview: Andrew Tracey

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This archival 2008 interview illuminates the history of the Hugh Tracey Kalimba

Interview:  Andrew Tracey

Andrew Tracey, Hugh Tracey's son, long-practicing ethnomusicologist and musical performer, shares his recollections of his father's work, the early Hugh Tracey kalimbas, the layout of the Hugh Tracey kalimba, and his ethnomusicology research showing the karimba to have the prototypical tuning that was passed down to subsequent instruments such as the mbira dzavadzimu.

20 January 2016

Great News about Thomas Bothe 2B Kalimbas!

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

2B/9, 2B/9B, 2B/14, and a 2B/14L are now here!

Great News about Thomas Bothe 2B Kalimbas!

We've been waiting a long time for Thomas Bothe to send us more of his wonderful "2B Kalimbas", and we have just received a few instruments (January 2016). They are unique in the world, nothing quite like them - check out the video below if you want to know what makes them so special.

18 December 2015

Interview: Thomas Bothe and his 2B Kalimbas

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This archival 2010 interview sheds some light on a remarkable kalimba maker

Interview:  Thomas Bothe and his 2B Kalimbas

The "2B Kalimbas" made by Thomas Bothe are very high quality instruments, and, clearly, labors of love. The care and attention to every detail that is evident in the workmanship of these instruments made me very curious about their creator. I was quite pleased that Thomas was able to spend a little time telling me about himself and his work.

11 November 2015

Learn to play the "Kalimba Solo for Lotus"

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Tablature and Staff Notation for the Entire Song

Learn to play the

Thousands of people have been wanting to learn to play SaReGaMa's "Kalimba Solo for Lotus" on the Lotus Karimba, and if you are one of those people, I've got good news for you.

18 December 2015

Free Tablature - Learn "Carol of the Bells"

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Free PDF and KTabS Tablature for Alto, Treble, B flat Treble, and Chromatic Kalimbas

Free Tablature - Learn

"Carol of the Bells" is not only a beautiful song that is great to learn on the kalimba, it is also a strategic stronghold of kalimba technique. The basic music consists of two different parts played at the same time, which in this case is not that hard. If you can learn this song, you will be entering the marvelous world of playing two voices of music at the same time on kalimba. Not up for heavy lifting? Please enjoy the video of me performing "Carol of the Bells" on the Alto Kalimba.

07 December 2015

"First Look Inside" - Tablature for Alto Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

You can download the tablature for this Hit Youtube Kalimba song for free!

You can get free tablature for the song "First Look Inside", performed on the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba by Mark Holdaway.

With over 1 million views, "First Look Inside" qualifies as my first YouTube Hit, and hundreds of people have asked for the tablature to this song. It is part of the "Advanced Alto Download", but it is also available for free in this blog article, in both PDF and KTabS formats.

16 November 2015

Playing SaReGaMa's Lotus and Freygish Karimbas Together

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Three tines need to be retuned on the Freygish Karimba

Playing SaReGaMa's Lotus and Freygish  Karimbas Together

The SaReGaMa-tuned Karimbas are one of the coolest developments in the kalimba world in recent years.  This article shows you how to make the Lotus-tuned Karimba and the Freygish-tuned Karimba sing together!

07 December 2015

Return of The Afroharp

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This clever 1970s kalimba is back - or at least its note arrangement is back, on a Catania body

Return of The Afroharp

The Afroharp, one of the more interesting early Hugh Tracey kalimba competitors, hasn't been manufactured since the 1970s. I have brought it back, putting its 13 notes onto a Catania body. OK, this isn't a real Afroharp, but the notes are the same as the Afroharp. This is a pretty interesting note arrangement, borrowing from the pentatonic kalimba tunings as well as from the karimba layout. It plays its own music.

25 November 2015

Using the 6-Note Songbook on Any Kalimba

Posted in News and Announcements

If you are having difficulty finding your way around a big kalimba, step back and simplify

Using the 6-Note Songbook on Any Kalimba

If you would like to play specific songs on your kalimba but you don't know where to start, or if you feel you haven't really connected well with your kalimba, you might want to consider getting the 6-Note Pentatonic Song Book.

13 November 2017

On "Just" tuning and A = 432 Hz

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

An Easy Way To Do It, Even If You Don't Do Math

On

"Just" intonation is tuning based on the notion that ratios of frequencies should be ratios of simple whole numbers. That is a complicated way of saying: the distance between notes in a scale should be simple. And it turns out the ear agrees: "just" intervals sound more pleasing than what your $20 digital tuner or your cell phone app will lead you to tune.

We'll explain a simple way you can get most of the benefit of a just tuning.

Oh, and 432 Hz? We'll talk about that too. While I understand 432 has some avid proponents, I myself do not perceive any musical or therapeutic benefit to a 432 Hz reference compared to a 440 Hz reference, but we'll explain how to do that too.

06 December 2017

Welcome to Kalimba Magic

Posted in News and Announcements

Quality, Selection Support and Service

Welcome to Kalimba Magic

 2017 HOLIDAY SAVINGS

Recieve 25% off popular Hugh Tracy Acoustic Altos,Trebles and Pentatonic Box Mounted kalimbas. Save a whopping 30% on songbooks; including music and instructional downloadsFind over 100 unique thumbpiano instruments in our on-line catalogue. Don't forget to listen to all of them with our KALIMBA MAGIC APP.  Find Links to all this and more below our Christmas Video.

07 December 2017

Christmas Kalimba Videos

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Christmas Carols are so so beautiful on kalimba

Playing Christmas Carols on the kalimba was my big breakthrough back in 2002. People in my home town were not taking the kalimba very seriously as an instrument. I had been casually working on Christmas carols for about three years, and I decided that I really needed to step up my game.

I put together a medley of 12 Christmas songs in 12 minutes, telling the emotional story of Christmas: searching for God in the darkness, the birth of Jesus, and the joy of all creation. And back in 2002, I worked the medley for an hour a day for two months, and my performance in Tucson was a knockout!

05 September 2018

My Neighbor's Dog Loves Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Well... he recognizes me by my kalimba playing

My Neighbor's Dog Loves Kalimba

A woman was walking her big black dog over to the fence where Gus is likely to greet neighbors and other dogs. I was playing kalimba on my morning walk as I approached. At first, Gus - a very friendly white dog with black spots - trotted over to great the neighbor dog, but then he cocked his head and raised an ear, as if he was being directed for a movie - and he ran the other way.

At first I didn't get it - but then we stopped near the front gate and rolled over on his back, waiting for me to come to the spot where I first pet him about a year ago.

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