Articles tagged with: Kalimba History

12 December 2016

“Kalimba” The Movie

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

AZPM video program about kalimbas, Mark, and Kalimba Magic. And a challenge!

“Kalimba” The Movie

Kalimbas are an exotic and intriguing musical experience to many, and recently Arizona Public Media (AZPM) created “Kalimba,” which was broadcast on their weekly TV magazine Arizona Illustrated.  “Kalimba” features the kalimba and Mark Holdaway, founder and owner of Kalimba Magic in Tucson, Arizona. This quick tour gives a brief overview of Mark's kalimba universe and the history and sound of this diverse family of instruments known as “lamellophones,” with excellent depictions of many fascinating modern and ancient kalimbas and their cousins.

30 November 2016

Early Kalimbas - a Speculation

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

the evolution of kalimbas and channeling how they might have sounded

Early Kalimbas - a Speculation

 Kalimbas have a rich, varied, and very long history.  Early kalimbas were likely quite different from anything you have seen. Over the years/in my travels in a life focused on playing, writing, and teaching about kalimbas I have picked up two historical instruments by happenstance that to me are preciously full of history and secrets, which both compels and intrigues me. Both instruments were originally separately acquired in Africa in the 1950s… that much I know. Their stories, heritage, and sound constitute an important piece of the “genetics” of the kalimba, and I suspect that you may be interested in learning a little more about them too.

 

07 September 2016

Where did all the kalimbas go?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Surging in popularity now, kalimbas arrived long ago and then all but vanished

Where did all the kalimbas go?

Kalimbas had been common in many, widespread places, having come along with Africans when they were torn from their native lands by slavers. How and why kalimbas disappeared is a sad and complicated tale.

Today, the kalimba is more popular than ever. People all over the world are creating original, unique kalimba designs. People everywhere are doing exactly what the people of Africa always did with the kalimba over the last millennium: adapting it to play their own musics.

The kalimba is ever so much more popular these days for many reasons: playing it is a uniquely peaceful activity. It is small and very portable. It brings joy, mindfulness, wonder, fun, and a sense of stillness to the mind. A good time playing the kalimba with a partner is among the all-time best experiences of my own life. How could this beautiful little instrument have been lost?

23 June 2016

The Electric Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

It was good enough for Jimi

The Electric Kalimba

Did Jimi Hendrix really play kalimba? 

16 June 2016

Kalimbas for Accessibility

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Scales and Chords for One-Sided 8-Note Kalimbas

Kalimbas for Accessibility

I have known several people who only have the use of one hand, and two of them play kalimba. Kalimba Magic offers a special one-sided kalimba, either in a left handed or a right handed setup.

It seems you would need both the left and right hands to simulate the full kalimba experience. The theory is that the kalimba evolved from huge log xylophones, made from actual logs, which were played by at least two people, one on each side, playing interweaving parts. The kalimba plays those same two parts, but the two players who used to play on opposite sides of the xylophone, are both now sitting inside the player's head.

Yes, left and right hands playing interlocking parts is fundamental to the traditional, two-sided kalimba, but it is most definitely possible to play one handed kalimba and sound good. When you play the one-sided kalimba, you are playing something set up very differently from the two-sided type. The notes are laid out in a linear setup and are played using different rules.

 

26 May 2016

Words About Maurice White's Kalimba Playing

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

And how you can get a kalimba like Maurice White's

Words About Maurice White's Kalimba Playing

A lot of people who play kalimba were first exposed to the instrument when Maurice White of the band Earth, Wind and Fire pierced their hearts with its sound so many years ago, first beginning in the 1970s .

While I did always like hearing Earth, Wind and Fire on the radio, I never even knew Maurice White played kalimba until after I started Kalimba Magic and people started pointing out the sorts of things I would need to know to stay in business.

Now I'm making up for lost time.

31 May 2016

How Maurice White's Kalimba Playing Touched My Life

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Joe Hernandez is learning to play all of Maurice's kalimba parts

How Maurice White's Kalimba Playing Touched My Life

There are probably tens of thousands of kalimba players around the world who first learned about the kalimba from Maurice White. One of them is Joe Hernandez:

"I saw Maurice White play in 1988 in Kansas City, the first time I had ever actually seen a kalimba. I was amazed and wish I had attempted to find one and start playing back then. Thanks to Kalimba Magic, I finally got my own kalimba and I love it. Too bad it took me over 30 years to discover where to get one."

But wait till you see what Joe is doing with his kalimbas.

08 March 2016

The Story of the Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The history of the thumb piano in Africa and how the kalimba got to be a household name

The Story of the Kalimba

I just gave a presentation on the kalimba at the OLLI-UA  (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arizona) in Tucson, and decided to share with you the Powerpoint of the presentation (actually it's a PDF of the Powerpoint).  A great thing about this 45 page PDF presentation is that it has many clickable links to interesting sound recordings and YouTube videos, which really make the presentation come alive.  One negative is that at a number of places, I made instructions to myself to play a certain song, or show a particular kalimba; these instructions are not presently linked to anything, so these parts of the presentation will be missing for the time being.

05 January 2016

Interview: Andrew Tracey

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This archival 2008 interview illuminates the history of the Hugh Tracey Kalimba

Interview:  Andrew Tracey

Andrew Tracey, Hugh Tracey's son, long-practicing ethnomusicologist and musical performer, shares his recollections of his father's work, the early Hugh Tracey kalimbas, the layout of the Hugh Tracey kalimba, and his ethnomusicology research showing the karimba to have the prototypical tuning that was passed down to subsequent instruments such as the mbira dzavadzimu.