Articles tagged with: Sansula

29 April 2018

The Hokema Kalimbas have Gone Electric!

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Pickups are now available on nearly all Hokemas

The Hokema Kalimbas have Gone Electric!

The kalimba has always been a cool instrument. Different. Ethnic. New Age. Ancient. And just plain fun.

But throw in an electronic pickup, and you can take the kalimba to a whole new level of FUN.

It is a cliche, but the Germans do build things very well - smooth, precise, shiny... and now great sounding pickups for Hokema's beautiful kalimbas.

Thank you, Peter Hokema!

29 November 2016

A Download and Book for the Hokema B11 Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

There is a lot of cool music you can do on this one - we start from the beginning

A Download and Book for the Hokema B11 Kalimba

Peter Hokema has done it again!  He has created a charming little kalimba that seems to just captivate everyone who hears it, the B11 "Melody" kalimba. 

And Mark Holdaway has done it again, creating an instructional download/book filled with great music, illustrating many of the wild and wonderful things you can do on the B11 kalimba.

Read on to learn more about the unusual B11 "Melody" kalimba, and to see what kinds of things are in "Exploring the Hokema B11 Kalimba," available as a hard-copy book or download. You can also hear one of the more advanced songs you can play from the B11 collection.

29 April 2018

Does the low note on your Deluxe Sansula Wobble? Here is the fix

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This simple trick will get your deluxe (goatskin) sansula sounding great again

Does the low note on your Deluxe Sansula Wobble? Here is the fix

Along with the Sansula's beautiful sound and mind-blowing special effects - that is, the deep wah-wah tonal modulation you can get by lifting and lowering the resonant frame onto a flat surface - there are some drawbacks among the different types of Sansula. They can be a bit finicky but are definitely worth having and playing. Knowing how to keep them at their best is easy.

The Standard Sansula (which Kalimba Magic no longer carries) sounds good but has the considerable flaw that, when the instrument is dropped from a height of 1 meter or more, its paper-thin membrane will break.

The Sansula Renaissance, with its synthetic Remo drum head membrane, is robust with respect to droppage, but if you mistreat the drum head by stretching the membrane too much, it can get a bit stretchy and soft. It still plays and "wahs," but just seems a bit tired after a few years.

And the Deluxe Sansula, with a goatskin membrane, can (in a very dry climate) get dried out to the point that the low note sounds as both A and A sharp, beating together in a markedly unpleasant manner.

But the FIX is in!

26 April 2016

A Fantastic Instructional Download for the Sansula

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The C Major Sansula Tuning has always been beautiful - and now it is accessible!

A Fantastic Instructional Download for the Sansula

Kalimba Magic sansulas are normally sold in the A Minor tuning, which produces music of an enchanting, mystical and melancholy nature. I created the C Major sansula tuning in 2011 in response to a customer’s request for a sansula in C.  I love this tuning; it is simply happy and positive, potentially majestic and even euphoric. I am often struck by how easy it is for the C Major sansula to produce music of great simplicity and beauty. If something gorgeous happens in the midst of my time spent with it, I take careful notes (whenever i come up for air!).

The C Major sansula book, a downloadable PDF, covers some of what this delightful instrument can do. With 48 pages and 32 original compositions and exercises written just for this tuning, this book gives you enough material to occupy you for many months as you improve your sansula skills. Included among these compositions are the two YouTube videos I have made with the C Major tuned sansula and the C Major tuned kalimbula.

 

27 April 2016

Tip Series: Exploring Sansula Tunings

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

What is a tuning? Why do you retune? How do you retune?

Tip Series: Exploring Sansula Tunings

The sansula is a great instrument for so many reasons: its lush tone, beautiful craftsmanship, the smooth metal tine tips, the amazing wah-like effects it produces totally acoustically, its simple 9-note layout with staggered tines, and its intuitive tuning that literally transforms nearly-random thumb twiddling into actual music.

However, the same tuning that is geared toward instant success turns out to be very limiting. I realized this early on, but I so loved the tone and feel of the sansula; I wanted to do more with it. So I started to invent sansula tunings, each prescribing its own universe of sound and musical possibilities.

The series of tips that this blog post introduces is my guide to you on the subject of sansula tunings - what tunings we offer, what they sound like, and what instructional resources are available for each. May this guide serve you well!

08 December 2015

A geometrical approach to Sansula Note Layouts

Posted in News and Announcements

Sansulas come in many different tunings, which can be somewhat confusing - but here is a way I found to understand the basic shape of all of those tunings

A geometrical approach to  Sansula Note Layouts

The Hokema Sansula and the Hands on Drums Kalimbula come in the standard A minor tuning or in any of the alternative tunings. We present a few purely geometrical ways of thinking about the Sansula tunings. We also introduce a new alternative Sansula tuning based on my favorite Thomas Bothe tuning.

14 March 2018

New and Improved Downloads

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The Fastest Way to Learn to Play Kalimba

New and Improved Downloads

As you know, it's hard to resist the beauty of, and the urge to make, kalimba music; that's why you're here! Over many years I have written dozens of books to help a lot of people who want to learn to play these instruments. It's an ongoing project, as each different kalimba needs its own books, and new kalimba tunings and layouts are being invented (and not just by me) all the time. It ends up being a big part of my life's calling, because nobody else in the world is creating anything like this.

But while I am deep in the recesses of KM headquarters doing this, it gets lonely and quiet and I forget sometimes about why I spend my time at it.  So when I got this letter in the mail today, handwritten in pencil, I was thrilled to be reminded:

"Your kalimba tablature method is far superior to any numbers-based systems. Your method is the ONLY way I want to learn to play my kalimba!"

18 July 2017

Instructional Download: 8-Note Kalimba in Sansula Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

An exotic tuning on this otherwise vanilla kalimba makes for new and interestng music

Instructional Download: 8-Note Kalimba in Sansula Tuning

The 8-Note kalimba is a great instrument on which to learn, and is usually tuned to one octave of the C major scale. As such, it is a pretty modest kalimba, playing songs such as "London Bridge is Falling Down" and "Joy to the World" (and NOT the "Jeremiah was a bullfrog" version).

If you are willing to retune your 8-Note kalimba, you can greatly increase the amount of music accessible to the 8-Note kalimba.  The standard A minor Sansula tuning is one of the least ordinary tunings you can put onto the 8-Note kalimba - if you do, you won't be playing "Twinkle, Twinkle" anymore! AND if you don't want to retune your kalimba, you can send your old 8-Note to the Kalimba Doctor and we will do the job for you, or you can order a new 8-Note in the Sansula tuning. (I am partial to the Goshen 8-Note kalimba.)

27 May 2017

The New Hokema Sansula Elektro

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The kalimba community has been asking for an electric sansula for a decade. It's finally here!

The New Hokema Sansula Elektro

The new (2017) Sansula Elektra is a quality, amplifiable version of the Hokema Sansula Renaissance.  The amplification system of the Elektra is rather sophisticated: a piezo-electric pickup gets the wood vibrations while an internal microphone catches the air vibrations of the sansula. These signals are mixed together optimally and sent out through a 3-prong XLR cable to your phantom-power-capable PA system, mixing console, or recording console. The Elektra does require phantom power; you can't simply plug this one into your guitar amp without going through a direct box with phantom power. But the sound?  Totally worth it!  And with your amplified sansula, you can compete volume-wise with loud instruments in a band situation and you're quite mobile and not stuck next to a microphone when performing. 

03 August 2016

2B/9 Kalimbas Available in Sansula Tunings

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements, Tips

Instructional books and downloads are available for: Standard A minor, Heavenly A, Beautiful E, and C Major tunings

While the Thomas Bothe "2B" kalimbas are charming and delightful, they have one major drawback - there is a dearth of instructional materials for them.  This is mainly because each kalimba Thomas makes is an individual, tuned to its own unique tuning, and so it's not really possible to write a book for each one.

I had a great idea about making it possible for people to be taught how to play 2/B kalimbas. The idea came about this way: Over the last 10 years I produced several instructional books/downloads for four different Hokema sansula tunings (a sansula is a special kind of kalimba). While pondering how to make 2/B's teachable, it hit me: why not offer the 2B/9 kalimbas tuned to these four sansula tunings so people could use the sansula books to learn their 2B instruments? So that is what we have done, and below I describe each of the books which can be used with our new "alt" 2B kalimbas.

 

26 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p1 - What is a Sansula?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

All sansulas have nine tines, four of them bent upward

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p1 - What is a Sansula?

Kalimba Magic started making the first alternative sansula tunings many years ago, and we are the only people to have made instructional materials for the sansula and its alternative tunings. This series of tips is an overview of Kalimba Magic's sansula tunings and related instructional materials. 

We start our series of tips with the nuanced question: "What is a sansula?"

26 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p2 - The Sansula in Standard Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

The standard A minor tuning requires almost no effort and sounds great

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p2 - The Sansula in Standard Tuning

Kalimba Magic started making the first alternative sansula tunings many years ago, and we are the only people to have made instructional materials for the sansula and its alternative tunings. This series of tips is an overview of Kalimba Magic's sansula tunings and related instructional materials. 

To gain some perspective, we take a close look at where the Sansula started - the standard A minor tuning.

26 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p3 - The Sansula Book

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

This ground-breaking book inspired thousands

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p3 - The Sansula Book

Kalimba Magic started making the first alternative sansula tunings many years ago, and we are the only people to have made instructional materials for the sansula and its alternative tunings. This series of tips is an overview of Kalimba Magic's sansula tunings and related instructional materials.

This is a good example of the music played easily on the sansula in standard A minor tuning - it is one of the lessons from the book "Playing the Sansula", which mostly covers the standard tuning.

The media player at the bottom of the article will play a sound recording of this music, when you click on it.

26 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p4 - Why Alternative Tunings?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Changing the tuning can transform the music the sansula plays

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p4 - Why Alternative Tunings?

Kalimba Magic started making the first alternative sansula tunings many years ago, and we are the only people to have made instructional materials for the sansula and its alternative tunings. This series of tips is an overview of Kalimba Magic's sansula tunings and related instructional materials.

Before we launch into several alternative tunings, it only seems fair that I explain why anyone would even want to try an alternative tuning on their sansula.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p6 - How to Retune?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Exactly how does one go about retuning a sansula?

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p6 - How to Retune?

When you think of retuning, you may envision tuning hammers, tuning prongs, and pliers, and people pushing and grunting, but if you are serious about retuning your sansula, I have one little piece of information that will save you a lot of time and frustration. And we also hook you up with a lot of kalimba tuning resources!

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p7 - The Easiest Retuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Just retuning one of the A tines down to G increases the reach of the Sansula's standard tuning

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p7 - The Easiest Retuning

Modifying one note won't totally transform the sansula, but it will alter, and in this case, extend the musical palette available to the instrument. And if you are going to take the plunge and experiment with alternative tunings for the first time, you should start with something easy. This tuning only requires retuning one tine by a whole step.  It is also easy to get back to the original tuning, though I don't think you'd want to - I myself prefer to have that G than to have the double A's in the standard tuning.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p8 - The Beautiful E Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

From the Beautiful E Sansula Music Book

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p8 - The Beautiful E Tuning

While the standard-tuned sansula is lovely, many of the things it plays sound similar.  The Beautiful E Tuning for the Sansula not only has a totally different palette of colors and emotions, it can also play a much wider swathe of music than the standard tuning can.

This tip shares the tablature and sound recording of one of the songs from the Beautiful E Sansula book to give you an idea of what the Beautiful E can do.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p9 - The Heavenly A Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

From the Heavenly A Sansula Song Book

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p9 - The Heavenly A Tuning

The Heavenly A Sansula tuning is Rick Tarquinio's answer to my Beautiful E Tuning.  True to its name, the Heavenly A Sansula is quite lovely.  Not only is this a good tuning in which to improvise, but this tuning actually supports a great many songs.

The song in this lesson is "Sadza Madya Here", a traditional African piece for the karimba, but it sounds great on the sansula as well.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p10 - Morocco E Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

This is an enchanting middle-eastern style tuning

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p10 - Morocco E Tuning

Even though the  Morocco E sansula tuning is one that I haven't explored very much,  I actually have two instruments set up in this tuning!  I play around with this tuning because it is fun.  Morocco E tuning sounds quite serious, which is why I love it so much.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p11 - Bluesy E Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

This funky-bluesy tuning has a free instructional download

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p11 - Bluesy E Tuning

I was playing kalimba at an independent living facility here in Tucson, and the family of one of the residents was there enjoying the music.  After about five or six songs that were happy, light and beautiful, one of the visitors said "Play something ugly!"  Well, I could not. I suspect that what he was asking for was something less of a sweet delight and more gritty, bluesy, down and dirty.

The Bluesy E sansula tuning was created with that idea in mind. 

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p12 - C Major Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

From the C Major Sansula Download

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p12 - C Major Tuning

The C Major Sansula Tuning is one of my favorites.  It is happy and uplifting and powerful.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p13 - C Minor Tuning

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p13 - C Minor Tuning

The C minor tuning is a straight minor pentatonic scale.  It has a little more force and a little less mystery than the standard A minor Ake Bono tuning.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p14 - Other Tunings

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Following Kalimba Magic's lead in the Sansula Tuning Movement, other tuning innovation is happening

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p14 - Other Tunings

The people at Hokema have also been bringing forth sansula tuning alternatives. They have an app for the iphone that will help you experiment with your own sansula tunings, permitting you to retune, within realistic limits - that is, any tuning you create on the iphone will be possible to create on your sansula.

28 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p15 - We'll Work With You

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Do you really need some totally different tuning? We can probably invent it

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p15 - We'll Work With You

Many people are not looking for anything in specific - they will go for a particular kalimba or tuning because it makes cool music that resonates with them.   I think chances are good that these people will find something that tickles them among the tunings I have presented.

Some people have very specific needs.  They might require a sansula in a particular key so that it will work with other instruments playing a song in that key, or to accompany singing a particular song in that key.  Inventing a tuning for a particular key is as much an art as a science.  

In many cases, we can come up with a kalimba that fits your needs. This service is part of what we do at Kalimba Magic. Let us know if you have the need for a special tuning.

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