Very economical, high quality, Great for Students, plays great music
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.
First, let’s take a look at what is good about these kalimbas:
- the stained mahogany wood box is very attractive.
- the wood on the box is a bit thinner than that of most other kalimbas, making the box body very light and easy for smaller hands to hold.
- the one sound hole on the front makes a deep wah-wah sound.
- the boxes are smaller than the Alto or Treble kalimbas, so they fit perfectly in smaller hands.
- these are keyed to C major, with C in the low note. Anything you learn on the 10-Note kalimba can immediately be played on the 17-Note C-keyed kalimbas.
- the sound is soft and pleasing
- four tines are painted to help you follow the tablature.
- the tines are wide and have a nice spacing that makes them easy to play, for elders, for new players, and for children.
- the tines have a smooth down-bend at the tip, and the tine metal is a bit soft, so they will not hurt your thumbs if you get carried away and play too much.
- the painted tines also match the pattern on our Alto kalimbas, so anything you learn on this kalimba can also be played on the Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba.
- the sound hole is a heart shape, with a stylized wood burn “shadow” in two pieces. To me, the shadow to the left of the heart represents a dolphin, and the shadow in the clect of the heart represents a bird – that is, the heart’s shadow represents life on earth. The two twinklling stars to the lower right represent the “sparkly, sparkly” kalimba – hope, for the future of our hearts, for the future of life on earth, and for the future of your kalimba playing!
- we have created three very accessible PDF tablature-based instructional downloads, each with links to the MP3 files so you can hear how the songs go. I don’t think there was any instructional material anywhere in the world for the 10-note kalimba until now.
- the lower 8 out of 10 notes map perfectly into the notes of the 8-Note kalimba, which means that you can learn all the nursery rhymes and introductory songs that are taught in our 8-Note instructional materials.
- the 10 notes also cover the 9 notes of the Student Karimba (also known as Andrew Tracey’s hypothesized “original mbira”) – meaning all of those traditional African songs are accessible to you.
- and that 10th note, the one that isn’t on the Student Karimba? It is a crucial note for mbira-style songs, meaning you can actually play 4-phrase mbira music on this little 10-Note kalimba.
- like all our diatonic kalimbas, it is available with your choice of painted tine color – blue, red, green, white, yellow, or unpainted.
OK, now on to the negatives:
- The 10-Note Heart Kalimba has moderately few notes – so you cannot play the most complicated music. But actually, if you are learning, you don’t want to be confused or overwhelmed by excessive possibilities… so it’s a good tradeoff.
- The 10-Note Heart Kalimba, measuring in at 6.5 by 4.5 inches, isn’t all that big – a negative only if you have really big hands. My “normal-large” hands love it.
- This kalimba is not as loud as Hugh Tracey kalimbas; it doesn’t have the bright clarion call of a Hugh Tracey Treble, or the mellow low notes of a Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba.
- Last night, I lost two hours of sleep because this kalimba was so sweet, I just couldn’t put it down. Admittedly, I was practicing the songs in the African music ebook so the recordings would come out well, but the plan had been to play for 20 minutes and then lights out.
- You may find the 10-Note Heart Kalimba to be habit forming. Do not use while operating heavy machinery.
So, I think the 10-Note Heart Kalimba is a perfect place for you, your child, your inner child, your inner critic, your mother, or your father to start on their kalimba journey. Good sound, good appearance, good feel, easygoing, lots of tools to help you learn to play like a pro, totally transferable to larger and more capable kalimbas… and it will be gentle on your pocketbook.
Recommended for kids 6 – 99 years. The downloads are probably more appropriate for kids 9 – 99 as I tend to use ostentatious words. But if you wanted to learn from a download WITH a 6-year-old, you’d both have a blast.