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

The 66 Songs Download has been replaced with use friendly 44-Beginners-Songs and 33-Intermediate-Songs

66 Songs for the 17-Note Kalimba in C

The 44 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, Walter, Heart-17, and Gecko, among others.  The collections that went into this download include: African American Spirituals, traditional African karimba tunes, 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

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. 

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).

26 June 2019

Hugh Tracey Box Alto Chromatic Kalimba is Back in Stock

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

We will be getting about 100 of our most popular chromatic kalimba in July 2019

Hugh Tracey Box Alto Chromatic Kalimba is Back in Stock

It is time to celebrate! On July 4, I will be taking off from work, because it is Independence Day. (In this world we live in, i would actually rather be celebrating Interdependence Day - because the one truth that I have learned about the world economy is that we are all in this together.) I celebrate in this article with a short video if the patriotic American song

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!

29 November 2016

Cool Ethnic Tunings for the B11 Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

From Persian to celestial, each of these alternative tunings offers a totally different spin on this great kalimba

Cool Ethnic Tunings for the B11 Kalimba

The reports on the new Hokema B11 Kalimba are all coming in glowing - people love this kalimba.  Of course, everyone loves the sterling workmanship, ease of playing, and incredible sound of the huge Hokema hit, the Sansula, but the musical possibilities and adaptability of Hokema's latest, the B11, really exceed that of the Sansula by leaps and bounds, and the B11 carries the same quality and has a gorgeous sound too.

I have just developed five cool new tunings for the B11, and would love to share them with you!  In addition to this post's tuning charts for all the tunings, you can also listen to demo recordings of each so you can hear how each individual tuning sounds, and easily compare them.

29 November 2016

A Download and Book for the Hokema B11 Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

There is a lot of cool music you can do on this one - we start from the beginning

A Download and Book for the Hokema B11 Kalimba

Peter Hokema has done it again!  He has created a charming little kalimba that seems to just captivate everyone who hears it, the B11 "Melody" kalimba. 

And Mark Holdaway has done it again, creating an instructional download/book filled with great music, illustrating many of the wild and wonderful things you can do on the B11 kalimba.

Read on to learn more about the unusual B11 "Melody" kalimba, and to see what kinds of things are in "Exploring the Hokema B11 Kalimba," available as a hard-copy book or download. You can also hear one of the more advanced songs you can play from the B11 collection.

12 May 2018

Karimba Buzzers - adding or removing

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is so easy - it takes about 30 seconds

 Karimba Buzzers - adding or removing

While the sound of buzzers (or rattles) on a karimba is very distinctive, it is not for everyone. Also, the term "buzzers" (which create an intentional sound effect)  is very different from what we call the "buzz," which is an unwanted and unpleasant sound that results from an improperly seated tine. We deal with fixing the "buzz" in another article.

This article explores the role of karimba rattles in African music, looks at some of the different ways of making the rattles, and shows you how to take the them off - or put them back on - the Hugh Tracey karimba. I also mention one of my favorite ways to soften the sound of the Hugh Tracey rattles, which, at least to my ear, makes a very pleasing sound.

18 May 2018

Free Blank Tablature for Ten Different Kalimbas

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Click, Save, Print, and Fill in Your Own Notes

Free Blank Tablature for Ten Different Kalimbas

You may or may not know that I invented kalimba tablature in 2004. My first kalimba student would take in my personal instruction well, but then when he went home, he would forget what I had taught him and would not be able to practice it. When I put marks indicating notes on a paper representation of his 15-Note Alto kalimba, he did not need to remember, and could pick up his kalimba each day and practice. 

What marks did I use? The standard symbols for notes used in western staff notation work for me. You can use whatever you want.

It turns out that the tablature concept is quite extensible, and can cover a wide variety of kalimbas. I offer you blank sheets of this tablature for several types of kalimba, all for free. Enjoy!

29 April 2018

Does the low note on your Deluxe Sansula Wobble? Here is the fix

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This simple trick will get your deluxe (goatskin) sansula sounding great again

Does the low note on your Deluxe Sansula Wobble? Here is the fix

Along with the Sansula's beautiful sound and mind-blowing special effects - that is, the deep wah-wah tonal modulation you can get by lifting and lowering the resonant frame onto a flat surface - there are some drawbacks among the different types of Sansula. They can be a bit finicky but are definitely worth having and playing. Knowing how to keep them at their best is easy.

The Standard Sansula (which Kalimba Magic no longer carries) sounds good but has the considerable flaw that, when the instrument is dropped from a height of 1 meter or more, its paper-thin membrane will break.

The Sansula Renaissance, with its synthetic Remo drum head membrane, is robust with respect to droppage, but if you mistreat the drum head by stretching the membrane too much, it can get a bit stretchy and soft. It still plays and "wahs," but just seems a bit tired after a few years.

And the Deluxe Sansula, with a goatskin membrane, can (in a very dry climate) get dried out to the point that the low note sounds as both A and A sharp, beating together in a markedly unpleasant manner.

But the FIX is in!

29 April 2018

Did you buy an inexpensive Chinese-made 17-note kalimba in C? At a loss about finding a book to help you learn?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

OK - I can help you

Did you buy an inexpensive Chinese-made 17-note kalimba in C? At a loss about finding a book to help you learn?

Long before Kalimba Magic started writing books for the Hugh Tracey kalimba and touting the advantages of Hugh Tracey kalimbas, there was trouble afoot. A Pakistani company had started to make poor quality copies of the 17-note Hugh Tracey kalimbas. They cost about 30% of what the Hugh Tracey kalimbas sold for, but the company advertised that "tuning doesn't matter” – their instruments basically came untuned. So I really didn't have to worry all that much about the competition. Yes, people would still buy these cheap kalimbas, and they got more or less what they paid for.

Lately, however, a new 17-note Treble copy has sprung up from China. These instruments are a bit different, in large measure because they are well-tuned. Did you acquire a 17-note kalimba made in China, but cannot find any kind of instructional materials? Well, there is a ton of help for you, you just need to be aware of a difference in tuning that we will guide you into handling with ease.

26 April 2016

A Fantastic Instructional Download for the Sansula

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The C Major Sansula Tuning has always been beautiful - and now it is accessible!

A Fantastic Instructional Download for the Sansula

Kalimba Magic sansulas are normally sold in the A Minor tuning, which produces music of an enchanting, mystical and melancholy nature. I created the C Major sansula tuning in 2011 in response to a customer’s request for a sansula in C.  I love this tuning; it is simply happy and positive, potentially majestic and even euphoric. I am often struck by how easy it is for the C Major sansula to produce music of great simplicity and beauty. If something gorgeous happens in the midst of my time spent with it, I take careful notes (whenever i come up for air!).

The C Major sansula book, a downloadable PDF, covers some of what this delightful instrument can do. With 48 pages and 32 original compositions and exercises written just for this tuning, this book gives you enough material to occupy you for many months as you improve your sansula skills. Included among these compositions are the two YouTube videos I have made with the C Major tuned sansula and the C Major tuned kalimbula.

 

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