News and Announcements

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!

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.

21 November 2018

Play WIth the Intention of Love

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Kalimba is a tool for connecting, soul to soul

Play WIth the Intention of Love

This holiday season, give the gift of kalimba music, from you to the people in your life.

Play from the heart, and play the truth and emotion and love that you have within you for those around you.

The kalimba seems to be a very simple instrument. You can control which tine you play and when you play it, and you can control the volume of each note... but it is not like a violin, a saxophone, a trumpet, a guitar, or a voice, where the musician can bend the note and exuberantly emote.

Yet, the kalimba has an expressive magic all its own. My message to you today: Use the powers of the kalimba to express and emote, with love.

05 February 2019

Playing Sansula with Guitar

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Exploring Chords With Sansula in Standard Tuning

Playing Sansula with Guitar

A main part of the philosophy of western musical instruments is to reproduce as many sonic possibilities as possible - hence the piano keyboard, with seven octaves of fully chromatic notes.

A main part of the philosophy of the kalimba is that it has exactly the notes it needs to create a particular scale or a particular song. Every note on a kalimba is important and useful. A particular kalimba's scale will span a particular "music space" which contains the musical possibilities of that scale. But there are way many "music spaces" and there are way many kalimba tunings. 

One of my favorite activities is to explore new kalimba tunings and their "music spaces" - ie, the different possibilities these tunings create.

However, in my rush to cover all of these exotic music spaces, sometimes I forget to cover the most basic tuning of an instrument. Here I go back and explore the Sansula's standard mystical and enchanting tuning, and show you how I accompany the Sansula with guitar.

27 March 2019

EZ Numbers-Based eBook for Almost Any Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Give the new eBook a Test Drive for Free

EZ Numbers-Based eBook for Almost Any Kalimba

My gift to the kalimba world is kalimba tablature. It is expressive and elegant. It can display any sort of music, and it reflects my internal conceptualization of the kalimba and its music.

However, not everyone likes my vertical tablature.

If the tablature is too much for you, you might want to try the Numbers-based approach.

Soon, I am going to have a full length Numbers-based book available for sale. Until then, I offer you this short "demo version" of the book for free.

21 June 2019

Chords on the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

And how to play melodies above them. This recipe works for any diatonic kalimba

Chords on the 17-Note Kalimba in C


In an article I wrote earlier this month, I said that every non-traditional kalimba in the world owes its existence to Hugh Tracey. (Of course, they also owe their existence to the hundreds and thousands of people in Africa who pioneered and played the karimba, mbira and related instruments over the last 1000 years.) But basically, every non-traditional kalimba is a copy of the Hugh Tracey kalimba's design and note arrangement.

That note arrangement makes it particularly easy to create melodies high up on the instrument, and simultaneously to produce good chords low down on the instrument that perfectly accompany that high melody.

21 June 2019

Mark's Rule of Thumb

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

OK - at the same time, play one note with your left thumb, and one with your right - and I'll show you how to make that sound great every time

Mark's Rule of Thumb

The kalimba is fundamentally a polyphonic instrument - meaning it plays multiple notes at the same time. It does have more limitations in its ability to play multiple notes than, say, piano or guitar. But those limitations on the kalimba also make it very easy to make some very pretty music  - for example, any two adjacent notes on one side will always harmonize. Three adjacent notes will always make some sort of triad, a sweet three-note chord.

But what about two notes on opposite sides of the kalimba? Will they sound good or bad when played simultaneously? It could go either way, but I have a very simple rule of thumb that will help you make sweet harmonies when playing notes or chords with both left and right thumbs.

21 June 2019

Rests in Kalimba Tablature

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

What? Those squiggly lines are supposed to mean something?

Rests in Kalimba Tablature

There are going to be some really great kalimba players in the next 2-10 years. A lot of kids are getting into the kalimba, and some of them will study, and go off and work on kalimba on their own, and invent their own style, and then reappear on the world stage as master kalimba players. Cool! Go for it!

One budding young kalimba player has been avidly tearing up all of the instructional material we sell for the 17-Note kalimba in C... but when she didn't understand what those squiggly lines meant, we heard from her about it. Those squiggles are called "rests." Different rests come in different shapes, based on how long of a rest they indicate. And we explain all that here.

21 June 2019

Mbira Songs Collected by B Michael Williams

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Five + One Volumes of Mbira Dzavadzimu Music

Mbira Songs Collected by B Michael Williams

I have some mixed news from B. Michael Williams. On the plus side, he is making a strong finish to his career as an academic, percussionist, and a proponent of the mbira and karimba: he has just published his 5th and final volume of mbira songs in his easy-to-read mbira tablature, available from Bachovich publishing or Steve Weiss Music.

On the minus side, Williams has been diagnosed with both Parkinsons and Alzheimers. While he has had the where-with-all to assemble his final volume of mbira songs, he is no longer able to play mbira.

So, when you pick up your mbira, your karimba, or your kalimba, please send some of your joy and good vibrations to our dear friend B, Michael WIlliams. Thank you.

 

21 June 2019

Kalimba Americana for 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This eBook has Songs From the Heart of America... played on your kalimba

Kalimba Americana for 17-Note Kalimba in C

For all the good and bad things you can say about my country America right now, one thing that most people can agree on is that America is a great leader in musical innovation. This has been going on for centuries, and a lot of it has to do with the huge ethnic melting pot that the land of the free has always been.

So, whatever you think about America right now, know that this great country's great music has always brought people together, across this land and across the world.

I invite you to jump into the pot yourself, and learn some of these classics on your 17-Note Kalimba in C.

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