07 December 2015

Return of The Afroharp

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This clever 1970s kalimba is back - or at least its note arrangement is back, on a 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.

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.