Why Should You Buy From Kalimba Magic?

Because of the greatly superior overall kalimba experience that you’ll have with us

Mark Holdaway and Mike Ankomeus of Kalimba Magic tune, paint, and set up the kalimbas you buy from us


Most kalimbas you buy online will arrive at your door in a relatively untuned state. Most kalimbas you buy online are packed by someone who has no idea of how to set up the instrument.

At Kalimba Magic, Mark Holdaway or Mike Ankomeus tune every kalimba before it ships. We paint the relevant tines to help you read the tablature. We include a tuning chart and a “care and feeding” card directing you to the online resources you will need to keep your kalimba sounding good and playing well. And we direct you to a plethora of instructional materials for your kalimba.

There are some other things to know about Kalimba Magic that can make your experience with kalimbas immeasurably more worthwhile and rewarding. Wouldn’t you like to learn more?


Try this: google “Learn to play 17-Note Kalimba,” and up comes a results page dominated by Kalimba Magic content. There’s a good reason for that.

Kalimba Magic is unique. Few people in the world have created quality kalimba instructional materials. In my 14.5 years in business, I have written 50 kalimba downloads and 25 kalimba books for 33 different types of kalimba. And these books and ebooks are not small: 40, 60, some are even 100 pages. Most of the books link to MP3 files (older ones have CDs), and all of our downloads have MP3 files, so you can hear what the music that you’re learning should sound like.

When boxes of kalimbas arrive at Kalimba Magic (shipped from South Africa, China, the USA, Germany and a few other places), they are unpainted and somewhat out of tune. It is not uncommon for tines to be tuned to the wrong note – that is, 100 or 200 cents out of tune. But by the time a kalimba ships from Kalimba Magic to your home, each tine is tuned to better than 5 cents accuracy. Most kalimba models will have some of their tines painted to assist you in learning and playing your kalimba. We will point you in the directions you will need for information on keeping your kalimba in tune, how to take care of your kalimba-playing thumb nails, how to fix any buzzy tines that might develop, and more. We show you the notes your kalimba should be tuned to in order to use the standard instructional resources for that kalimba, and we point the way to those resources.

I know with a high degree of confidence that the people at Amazon and eBay who pack kalimbas into boxes have nowhere near as much experience playing as I have gained in my three decades as a kalimba player. I would suppose that most of them do not play kalimba at all, and I am fairly certain (based on my limited purchases of kalimbas through these internet megaliths) that they don’t know how to tune their kalimbas, and that they don’t even touch the tines at all before packing them in the box.

There is a lot that Amazon does better than me. They market better. They probably ship faster than me. They might be more efficient at handling returns than me. They might be cheaper.

But helping you select the kalimba that is right for you? Matching that kalimba with the correct instructional resources? Taking the time to paint the tines in a way that will work with the instructional materials and in a color that you choose? And making sure your kalimba is in the most playable condition possible? These are the strengths of Kalimba Magic.

I can truthfully say that every kalimba model I sell is one that I would be happy to perform on, happy to record on, and happy to send to your home. The kalimbas that I don’t appreciate? I don’t sell them.

About 10 years ago, I got a series of calls from a representative of Amazon. They wanted me to come over to the dark side. Why do I consider Amazon to be the dark side? Well, they are mainly motivated by profits. They seem to have a diversity of kalimbas for sale, but most of them are slightly different flavors of the 17-Note kalimba in C, making a kalimba monoculture. I am fairly confident that Amazon does not make the Kalimba World a better place.

I am motivated by magic, by joy, by the wonder of an amazing kalimba tuning, by the brilliance of the right kalimba, by the mystical oneness of traditional mbira music, and by the peace of a kalimba song well played. I am inspired by the people who get turned on by these kalimbas and books. I am in this game for the diversity of kalimbas, musics, books, and experiences. I write these books and tune these kalimbas so I can share them with you and help you on your way to becoming the best kalimba player you can be.

In the 33+ years that I have been playing kalimba, I probably played about 1000 hours a year for many of those years. Anyone who works at something for 20,000 or 30,000 hours is probably going to become an expert. Into each and every instructional book and download, I pack my expertise, experience and wonder.

When I die, there will be people in the world who play kalimba better than I did, and many of them will play better than me because of the things that I have taught them. The ancestors – those bright spirits who found the way with the mbira and the kalimba – live on in me and the music I play. When I become an ancestor, my spirit, my insights, and my lessons, will live on in many.

I cannot sell like Amazon. But I can sure play a mean kalimba, and I can teach you how to tame yours.

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