Return of The Afroharp

This clever 1970s kalimba is back – or at least its note arrangement is back, on a Catania body

The 13 notes of the Afroharp transplanted on a decorative Catania body.

The Afroharp, one of the more interesting early Hugh Tracey kalimba competitors, hasn’t been manufactured since the 1970s. I have brought it back, putting its 13 notes onto a Catania body. OK, this isn’t a real Afroharp, but the notes are the same as the Afroharp. This is a pretty interesting note arrangement, borrowing from the pentatonic kalimba tunings as well as from the karimba layout. It plays its own music.

I have made a
demo video to show you the kinds of things the Afroharp likes to do. Of course, I am working on an instructional download for this kalimba, and the music you hear now is a recording of KTabS playing this example from that download:

Example Afroharp Music from Download

The video that
Jonatha Brooke made using a classic Afroharp utilizes a different tuning. I will see what I can do about reverse engineering that tuning, as it is a powerful one. Until that day, I will keep working on creating new music using the standard E minor tuning and a G major tuning made by changing one note by a whole step.

One cool thing about the Afroharp – its low note is either an E or a D – much lower than the Hugh Tracey kalimba’s lowest note. This means that this is a good instrument to play to support singing. And the Catania body is large enough to support that low note.

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