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?


Mike Ankomeus figured out that he can do a better job tuning when he is looking at two tuners. He noticed that each tuner has its weaknesses, that sometimes one will not register a note, while the other tune says it is a G at 20 cents flat... and vice versa. And so, every day when Mike tunes kalimbas, he is there with two tuners, to improve his efficiency and to improve the quality of the final tuning. You can see in the photo above that Mike is using two tuners! (I joke that he is the only person in the world who can perform stereo kalimba tuning. Ha ha!)

What else about Mike?

He is one of the original members of my band, Baba Marimba, playing trumpet, flugelhorn, flute, melodica, didgeridoo, percussion, marimbas, and sometimes kalimba.

Mike 3
Mike Ankomeus, Heidi Wilson, Swami Peizer (seated), and Mark Holdaway, all historic members of Baba Marimba

Mike now splits his time between Kalimba Magic and a number of semi-professional music projects around the Tucson area, including Baba Marimba, the Santa Pachita Band, and the Fine Stream Gamelon Orchestra.

Mike has been working with Kalimba Magic since January 2018. He started with tuning, retuning, and restructuring kalimbas, and soon moved into also refurbishing kalimbas for the kalimba doctor service. Right now he is also doing a lot of the shipping, which leaves me more time to focus on writing new books and the like... at least until holiday season, when I will spend much more time on kalimba building and shipping alongside Mike.

Recently, Mike has been involved in contributing and selecting exotic B11 and Sansula tunings.

In his time off, Mike likes to hike in the desert wilderness and grows tulsi and dandelion.

We are anticipating a long and fruitful partnership - thank you, Mike, for your service, and welcome aboard!


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.