This Manila-based singer-songwriter has sunk her teeth into the Chromatic Kalimba
[Editor’s note: Bea has taken the Facebook world by storm with her evocative vocals and her simple but righteous kalimba playing. You should get to know her now, so you can say you knew about her way-back-when.]
“I believe I speak for an entire generation of self-taught individuals when I say that the Internet allows us to take the initiative in building new skills. I spent a lot of time browsing websites including Kalimba Magic, before purchasing my own kalimba. So by the time I finally had the kalimba in hand, I had stocked up enough knowledge ready to be put into practice.”
Bea Lorenzo Music
Bea Lorenzo’s background as a performer began with 13 years of ballet training. Her years at university, singing and playing in between classes, enabled her to rediscover her love for the stage. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of the Philippines, Bea was employed by Billboard Philippines as a full-time music journalist. Committing to a desk job kept her away from home where she usually would experiment and build chords on the piano, eventually leading her to discover the conveniently portable “thumb piano.” After one year of behind-the-scenes work in the local music industry, Bea now commits her time to developing her own live musical act as a kalimba artist and singer-songwriter. The third quarter of 2017 marks the beginning of her journey as an aspiring singer-songwriter.
Bea Lorenzo’s earliest influences include a wide collection of songs celebrated by musical theater. As a singer, Bea draws her influence from all-time favorite vocalists ranging from Diana Krall, Amy Winehouse, Sarah Vaughan, etc. Her first influences in songwriting include Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars, Adele, and The Beatles. She now pays close attention to the music of Solange, Lianne La Havas, Corinne Bailey Rae, Amel Larrieux, etc. Although a vast majority of her influences are western, Bea is grateful for the hands-on guidance from various mentors in the Filipino music industry.
“I believe I speak for an entire generation of self-taught individuals when I say that the Internet allows us to take the initiative in building new skills. I spent a lot of time browsing websites including Kalimba Magic, before purchasing my own Kalimba. So by the time I finally had the kalimba in hand, I had stocked up enough knowledge ready to be put into practice. Definitely, the little I know about music theory from playing the piano allowed me to understand how notes in a chord are spaced out on the kalimba. Everytime I learn a new song on kalimba, I immediately make visual associations in my mind with piano keys.
“I still consider myself a novice in kalimba playing, but that doesn’t stop me from creating videos and taking my kalimba with me onstage as I love to, as much as possible, involve my audience in this exciting learning process.”
Singing with Kalimba
“In this fast-evolving world, I have always been a big believer of carving your own niche without compromising quality of performance. My main instrument has always been my voice. Naturally, any instrument I decide to play, I play with the intention of being able to use it to accompany my singing. So when I discovered that there were kalimbas that were tuned to the familiar 12-note western chromatic scale, I saw an opportunity and pounced on it.
“Posting Facebook videos involving the kalimba has so far allowed me to open people’s minds to the idea of stepping out of their comfort zones and committing to learning something new.”
About This VideO
In the video, Bea shows that she is mastering her chords on the Chromatic kalimba. Her kalimba accompaniment supports her lovely vocals, building arpeggios that follow the song’s chord progression closely.
The Chromatic kalimba is much more challenging than the typical diatonic or pentatonic kalimbas. But if you are a vocalist, it is totally worth meeting that challenge. As compared to diatonic kalimbas, the chromatic kalimba has all the colors of the harmonic spectrum, the white notes and the black, and can therefore play any chord you want, and in any key. And because of this capability, complex jazz and show tunes that have rich harmonies can be played on the Chromatic. It can modulate to different keys as well.
The kalimba’s pure and simple tones perfectly complement Bea’s rich voice, and the Chromatic kalimba can go everywhere her (or anyone’s) voice needs it to go.