04 October 2017

Behind the Scenes at Kalimba Magic

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Welcome to Kacy Todirita - International Sales - The making of the Kalimba Magic App

I have run Kalimba Magic out of my home since 2005. The business, the packing room, the photo and sound studio, the warehouse, the rehearsal studio - these now amount to 66% of my home.

Fortunately, the goals of my business align pretty well with my own personal goals: to play as much music as I can, and to share the joy of music and specifically the kalimba, with as many people as I can as the main part of my own efforts to make the world a happier, safer and more beautiful place.

So, I invite you into my house to see what is going on. I am now working with a new employee, who is helping me ship these kalimbas around the world. And I invite you to take a look at a kalimba traffic jam in my studio. 

 

Welcome, Kacy Todirita

After handling all of my kalimba orders myself since March, I am pleased to announce that Kalimba Magic has a new employee - Kacy Todirita. Kacy has an impressive musical background - she plays guitar, mandolin, bass, and now kalimba. In Tucson, she is well known as the bass player for the Reggae/Gypsy band Planet Jam. Even though she is fairly new to the kalimba, her substantial understanding of music makes her a great person to help me tune and pack kalimbas.

Here are two quick stories about Kacy:

She has already suggested a Romanian Gypsy scale for our kalimbas - but it turns out that it is the same scale that we refer to as the Hitzazkiar Persian Scale. (If you want to hear this scale, you can hear it on the Hugh Tracey HotShot-11 and the Roots Productions Mini-9 kalimbas in the new Kalimba Magic App or in the Kalimba Magic Shop)

Kacy was playing her new chromatic kalimba along with a song Planet Jam had recorded, and she had become frustrated with her lack of success when it occurred to her that the front side of the kalimba was in G - and the song was in F# - which is when she realized she could turn the kalimba (chromatics are two-sided!) over and play the back side and was met with immediate success in jamming along with the recording. 

Kacy's keen ear and eye for detail have already served Kalimba Magic well. We are glad to have her working with us. You may notice her handwriting or her packing style. She does things a little bit differently than I do, but she does them well and in her own style. It's great to have you on the KM team, Kacy!

 

Kalimba Magic, International Agent of Peace

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PayPal keeps track of the countries all of my customers live in - that is, where our kalimba customers come from, and also where we have sent kalimbas during 2017. It is such a good feeling when I am reminded that I am a voice for the peace these instruments provide, calling out to the world at large.

But most notable on this map is the mix of domestic US kalimba sales and international kalimba sales. Starting around January 20, 2017, our international sales dipped significantly. It was almost as if the world was voting NO to the USA, and voting with their pocketbooks. I am pleased to say that now, for the year of 2017 to date, international sales have rebounded to 40% of my total sales.

Sharing instruments from Africa and other places around the world, and sharing my books and kalimba setups and tunings - these lead many around the world to have a deeper appreciation for the makers of these instruments, the cultures in which these instruments were born, and the minds and hearts that love these instruments. And in light of the unfortunate alienation toward different cultures that we have heard about too often in our country in recent times, this sharing of what makes each of us special can make the world a safer place. In this case, international trade may really be a "Kumbaya" moment.

And the kalimba is environmentally friendly. Unlike international travel, which has a massive carbon footprint, shipping a little piece of Africa to you in the form of a kalimba has a very small carbon footprint.

 

Behind the Scenes of the Kalimba Magic App

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Kalimba Magic is happy to announce that our extensive catalog of kalimbas is now available as the Kalimba Magic App for Android phones. Most of our kalimbas, and most featured tunings for each kalimba, had to be recorded - the app features 60-90 second high quality sound recordings of each. This generated a traffic jam at Kalimba Magic Studio, to say the least. The above photo was taken early on in the process and represents about half of the kalimbas (and their associated tunings), after they had been fine tuned, but before recordings of their sound were made in the sound studio.

The Kalimba Magic app organizes the photos, descriptions, compatible books, and sound recordings of many of our kalimbas, helping you navigate and interface with our huge kalimba selection.

For me the recording process for this app was a lot like making and releasing a CD that featured over 100 short kalimba tunes, that I created just for this purpose. It was a monumental job and I am pretty happy with the results!

I have so many kalimbas, and so many of them play brilliant music - I feel as if my world of possibilities is too large for me to handle by myself. So, I am calling out to the world: Please listen to these recordings, and one of them will find you. I know that there are special people out in the world for each of these kalimba tunings, who can do special things with their special kalimba, furthering that particular piece of the kalimba universe.

And, the best thing about the Kalimba Magic app is, as George Harrison put it, "Come on and get it, it's free!"  

 

About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.

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