Kalimba Community

Kalimbas on Tiles

Are you doing something cool with the kalimba? Have you released a new CD, or a new video on YouTube? Do you have an upcoming kalimba performance? Do you have some cool photos to share? Contact us and we'll get your story or pics onto the Community page to help you share your news with the kalimba world!

Box Resonator

Randal's Kalimba Box Resonator

Randal in Tucson has figured out something way cool! He drilled a hole in his Catania 8-Note Kalimba, and straight through the case he bought for his kalimba, and mounted some kalimba mounts, and he has his own special resonantor box! Very cool, Randall.

There are a lot of nifty things you can use for a kalimba case, but this is the first time I've seen someone do this.


Louise Woodyard
Louis Woodyard

Louis Woodyard's Band Yvon B-Tropical

Peace to you, Mark. Just want to let you know that the kalimbas I bought from you are serving me well.This is Louis Woodyard aka Kisu Judah. My band's name is B-TROPICAL, and we do Reggae and Afro island type music. At this time we are doing two songs using the kalimba. I see you have a kalimba tuning for roots music, I may have to check that out. My e-mail is kisujudah("at")gmail.com. The band's myspace page is Yvon B-tropical.


Great photo, Louis! Glad you are having fun with your kalimbas.




Christopher Locket's Mbira Boogie

Christopher Locket is a folk-country artist who has discovered the kalimba. He writes:

My Mbira track, Mbira Mboogie, is online on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.com and also on my Myspace page. I'm playing a Goshen Art School 8-Note and Djembe. Mbira is tuned to some E Flat like tuning.

Also, I built a Marimbula that I play sometimes. Used a wooden shipping box that I found on Craigslist for $10. For tines, I used corset bones from a corset shop - great spring steel with rounded edges and dipped in Teflon - very easy on the fingers. Wired it with a K+K pickup. Drilled out soundholes beneath the bridge with a circular cutting tool - leftover from drilling out a door for a deadbolt. Play it through a bass amp - nice loud thump.

I'm playing a CD release show here in LA on Friday, July 31 / 8:30 p.m. / $10 at:

Unknown Theater
1110 Seward Street
Los Angeles, CA 90038


I can't guarantee that the Marimbula will make an appearance, but the Kalimba/Mbira/Thumb Piano absolutely will.

—Christopher Lockett, Los Angeles

Hey, I like your Mbira Boogie song! Best of luck with this release.



Ray Mouton Plays Kalimba in The Lion King

I haven't been to Las Vegas since I was 12, but maybe it's time to go! A guitarist named Ray Mouton landed the kalimba part in The Lion King. He was surprised: "You know, it doesn't take much strength to play the kalimba - you need a soft touch."

The Lion King is playing at Mandalay Bay, and tickets range from $53 to $113. Ray hopes that the show will run in Vegas for a number of years - so look for this show as another Vegas fixture, but don't wait too long to go see it!


Kevin Spears Plays in Atlanta, August 1st

Hello Friends!!! Hope all is well with you! Thanks to all who came out to the Eyedrum event last month!! We had a great time (I'm still getting comments about it).

Let's do it again!! Join us Saturday, August 1, 6pm at EarthShaking Music and Soundstage at 543 Stokeswood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30316. It's in East Atlanta Village just off Glenwood Ave. Phone is 404-577-0707. Don't miss it!!! More info at: http://www.myspace.com/kevinspears

—Kevin Spears


Bela Fleck's New CD/DVD: Throw Down Your Heart

Many of you already know about Bela Fleck's new CD and movie Throw Down Your Heart. If you don't know about this, Bela Fleck is a banjo innovator and bluegrass-crossover adult alternative music super star (OK, maybe at this point his audience might be narrow enough to preclude "super star", but he's really good). And lately he has been getting into World music.

He took a trip to Africa to search for the roots of the banjo and to make new music blending African instruments with the banjo and this is the best music I've heard from Bela Fleck. The name Throw Down Your Heart refers to a place in West Africa where slaves were loaded onto ships bound for the Americas. When Africans boarded the ships, they knew there was no hope for them to ever see their land again, and that they should throw down their hearts.

Bela Fleck is doing a concert tour with some of the musicians he performed with on the CD/DVD, and you might get lucky and see him. Deb and I caught him here in Tucson with Toumani Diabati, one of the world's best kora players.

Probably of most interest to you Kalimba Players of the World would be the DVD. Tthere are several fantastic kalimba players recorded on the CD, but to watch them play on the DVD is eye opening to say the least. You can get the DVD of Throw Down Your Heart at Bela Fleck's concerts, showings in theaters, or the DVD will be on sale to the general public in November.


John Walton's 3-Octave Chromatic Kalimba

John Walton, formerly of the 60s psychodelic band 13th Floor Elevators, is now building 3-Octave Chromatic Kalimbas, and apparently the price has been cut dramatically. Find out more at John Walton's website.

My take on this instrument - it sounds good; it is laid out like a piano, so if you can play piano, you'll be able to pick this up quickly. But it is very different from the kinds of kalimbas that I play, so I would not be able to jump to it very easily.


Kalimba Challenge from David Chau

David Chau, AKA Merlin, has a challenge for us kalimba players:

I've been looking for new ways to bring kalimba as an interest to kids in my area. And I had an idea. Maybe there should compositions for music that can be easily recognized by Gen X and Gen Y kids.

For instance:


Great idea, but most of these songs require a chromatic kalimba, which is not my forte. Hey, any of you chromatic players up to this challenge?



Alessandro's Middle Eastern Tuned Kalimba with Ocarina

Alessandro recently bought a kalimba and then fell in love with the Middle Eastern tuning (I think he turned all his D's into D#'s, and it looks like the low G has been tuned down to F#, the 5th of B). He plays Middle Eastern tuned Kalimba with Ocarina, and it gives me goose bumps.


United Airlines Broke Dave Carroll's Guitar

I have this growing list of consumer experiences, just from the last few weeks:

Since I do not expect to see justice, I'm considering channeling my frustration through song and video—then I can get paid back with a few laughs at least! My inspiration is this video: United Breaks Guitars, which quite entertainingly tells the story of how United Airlines broke Dave Carroll's guitar.

Now there's a good reason to get a kalimba: you will never have to check it, as it fits well in your carry-on luggage.


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