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Mark Holdaway

The Kalimbula – An Electric Ceramic Sansula

I’ve been having fun experimenting with tunings again… Kalimbula, by Hands On Drums The Kalimbula is a cool instrument that I’ve been enjoying playing in a variety of tunings.  I have tried all of the canonical sansula tunings, including the C Major I use in this video with new Kalimbula music. The hallmarks of the Sansula are: stunning tone, beautifully squishy tone modulation, and stellar hardware. How does the Kalimbula stand up to the Sansula? The Kalimbula has the exact same Sansula hardware providing its notes.  The tone of the ceramic Kalimbula bodies is somewhat different from the original Sansula, but it has a beautiful tone in its own right. 

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Backing Tracks from Kalimba Magic Videos

You can jam along to these tracks with several different kalimbas Backing Tracks When I make a video of the kalimba, I often feel the kalimba needs support from other instruments, so I add some guitar or bass or rhythm tracks to get some lower sounds in the mix.  I have remixed those support tracks from five of my recent videos.  Most of them have a few seconds of kalimba in the beginning to help you get oriented in the song, and then the kalimba drops out and all that is left is the supporting instruments that should sound really good when you add your own kalimba playing. How do

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Learn the Afroharp Now

This new instructional download takes you from simple to amazing in 46 pages! Catania Decorative Afroharp The Afroharp is a legendary 13-note, two level kalimba created and manufactured for a short period in late 1960s Chicago.  Because we feel that the Afroharp is a valuable and compelling instrument, Kalimba Magic has been selling new instruments in the Afroharp tuning for several months.  Vintage Afroharps are virtually impossible to acquire. I feel incredibly lucky to have recently had one come into my possession. Read on to learn how this vintage Afroharp came to me, what’s special about the Afroharp, how this modern kalimba looks and sounds in a video, and more about

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Great News about Thomas Bothe 2B Kalimbas!

2B/9, 2B/9B, 2B/14, and a 2B/14L are now here! These are the 2B kalimbas that will arrive early in January We’ve been waiting a long time for Thomas Bothe to send us more of his wonderful “2B Kalimbas”, and we have just received a few instruments (January 2016). They are unique in the world, nothing quite like them – check out the video below if you want to know what makes them so special. Thomas Bothe fell ill more than once from breathing the sawdust from paduak wood, out of which his beautiful kalimbas are made. After avoiding it for a while, he has been able to work again, and

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

New Kalimba Magic Tips Series

We are creating a set of Tips to help you find your way on the kalimba We have been making some very valuable tips available, that can help your playing and give you a much richer kalimba experience.  If you have any issues at all with your kalimba – if it has a buzz or it is out of tune, or you are having a hard time learning how to play it – continue reading, and the landing page will link you to the new Tips Series at Kalimba Magic.  In each tip, we will show you exactly what we are talking about, with tablature, photographs, sound recordings or video included.  Many of

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Mahororo – a Shona Mbira Song

Learn to play this traditional Mbira song on Karimba or Alto Kalimba New version features strictly alternating R-L patterns This is my favorite song from the 11 Advanced Traditional Karimba Songs Download. I think you’ll love playing this song as much as I do, and I put together a more accessible version than the original. “Mahororo” could mean “victory”, or it could mean “baboons talking”, depending on who you believe (from Ivodne Galatea’s notes in the instructional download). I recently learned this song, and I shifted the notes down a 5th. I include a video I made of Mahororo “freestyle”, and I am giving away tablature for this song on

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Introducing the Hang-9 Kalimba

Exploring the wide collection of handpan tunings on a simple kalimba The Hang-9 kalimba on a Halo handpan The handpan drums such as the Hang and the Halo are very magical instruments, in large part because of the really cool tunings they come in.   However, they have certain drawbacks – the multi-thousand dollar price tag, the waiting lists, and their inability to change tunings come to mind. The Hang-9 is a brand new kalimba offered only by Kalimba Magic that encapsulates the tunings and note layouts of the handpan drums in an inexpensive kalimba that can be retuned to any of the tunings. The Hang-9 was given this name because

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Getting the Most out of Your Alto and Lotus

The easiest way to get the most relevant information for your kalimba Click here to view first page of the Lotus download Announcing new informational PDF downloads for the Alto and for the Lotus.  These PDF files contain live links to all the information you need to keep your kalimba or karimba operating in top order.  Furthermore, each download includes a comprehensive list of the instructional resources available for that instrument.  This download is included with each Alto or Lotus sold. Or you could just download them now! Click on the image and you can see the first page of the Lotus download, or go to the links at the

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Exploring Pentatonic Tunings

Pentatonic tunings are culturally and musically important. We present new kalimba video of three different tunings for the pentatonic kalimba The coupon code PENTA30 gets you 30% off the box pentatonic Aboriginal peoples all across the globe have used pentatonic scales in their music.  One of Hugh Tracey’s fundamental findings was that about 40% of all the kalimbas he documented in his expeditions across Africa were tuned to pentatonic scales. Find out what makes the pentatonic scales so essential! A pentatonic scale is any scale that has five unique notes per octave. (Most other scales have seven unique notes per octave.) On average, the notes in the pentatonic scale are

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