Play WIth the Intention of Love

Kalimba is a tool for connecting, soul to soul

Mark mesmerizes a cranky infant with loving kalimba vibes

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.


I think the kalimba’s simplicity is what gives it that lovely immediacy as you play.

There is nothing but this simple little kalimba between me and the one I wish to beam love towards. I gently translate my feelings and my ideas and my love into sound, sound that can be heard and felt and understood.

This is why I work to become a better kalimba player – so when that moment arrives when I need my kalimba to touch another, I am ready. While the kalimba is a magical instrument, you should not think you never have to work at it. You do need to practice. You do need to make friends with the instrument, become accustomed to the exact placement of each tine… or if the tine isn’t quite where your thumb expects it to be found, you need to move that tine slightly, until the kalimba is as comfortable as an old friend.

Every imperfection of the kalimba is a stepping stone to knowing the kalimba better, and better knowing how to make it sing with whatever emotion you bring to it.

But of course, a well-tuned kalimba’s notes sound so melodious and the harmonies so sweet, it is quite natural to emote with our highest possibilities when we play kalimba for another.

When you walk down the street, when you play in your bedroom, when you play on a bus, people will hear you, and they will be touched. Play well for them. Play with love in your heart. Reach out and sense what they need, and try your best to give it to them. You don’t know where this beauty will go, or what good it may accomplish, but do play with the intention that the beautiful sounds that come through you will touch hearts and will bring moments of joy where joy is needed.

When you play for someone who is ill, play with the intention that your music can hold your friend’s mind and heart for a moment. You can cover them with a spirit of love and lightness and beauty, and push back for a moment any fears or darkness or pain.

Do not be boastful. This is not about your greatness. In many ways, it is about your vulnerability, and sharing that softness with another. The gentle voice of the kalimba can come down and be present with the least of us.

But do reach out with your psychic kalimba music arms – reach out to touch, to soothe and to comfort. Reach out to connect and inform. Reach out, first to listen, to feel, to see what needs to happen here, and then to respond and to witness in response. To stand next to one who is wanting, and to give something unique and amazing and wondrous and beautiful. Something timeless and ancient and modern all at once. Something that millions now play, but something that is also a music that is all your own.

So, I encourage you this holiday season to give the gift of kalimba music to the souls in your life. Work at it. Reach out. Understand what is needed, and share, from your heart, with the intention of love. Love comes through this music.


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