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 or other cool stuff with the kalimba world!

Freeman Bass Kalimba
Click on image to download video (mp4).

Eric Freeman's Bass Kalimba

Eric has been collaborating with Blase Provitola to make a good electric bass kalimba.

Says Eric Freeman (featured in video):

This is the newest electrified model. I put the pickup right under the bridge so its a good direct signal = zero feedback issues. It's a bit grumbly, but I'm in the habit of using my tube amp to add a little distortion... so if I turn down the input it's much cleaner.

Freeman Bass Kalimba
Contact mics are under the bridge.

It's taken awhile to get all this together, but I like what is happening. The sound coming off the kalimba has a good strong clean tone. We built the tines out of the stiff material I bought from you and Benjamin Todd helped fire them to bend the tines, although this may not have been necessary. The tines we didn't fire sound good as well. As Blase said, he has been building the bodies. We've been trying different woods and designs, hollow body & solid. —Eric

Says Blase Provitola:

Eric and I are experimenting with bodies from different hardwoods. The one pictured here is a piece of local black walnut with a big knot hole and some sap wood. The bodies are solid as they are miked. I'm a wood guy and drummer (hand) and guitar. Our next venture will be hollow bodies.


Kevin Spears Returns from Japan Tour

Kevin Spears says:

Hey Mark! Blessings to you in this new year! Just got back from my Japan tour which was an incredible experience! I wanted to let you and the kalimba kommunity know that I met a lot of great people, fans and world-class musicians there. I was introduced to and played with an amazing African kora and guitar player named Mamadou Doumbia. Mamadou has toured and played with Salif Keita, Carlos Santana, The Emperor of Japan, etc. It was really cool to see and talk with so many people who were familiar with the traditional mbira and fans of kalimba! I gave 10 performances and conducted 6 workshops while I was there and my agent is making the arrangements for me to revisit in about 6 months. Will keep you posted.

I've posted a new video clip of a performance I did in a jazz club in Shibuya check it out on Myspace.

I mentioned Kalimba Magic to those that attended the shows and I strive to do even more in 2010 through sharing my life experience on this wonderful and beautiful instrument.

Thanks, Mark, for all that you do for the kalimba community around the world.

Your friend,


Seeking Kalimba Teacher in Portland (and Beyond!)

A. in Portland is looking for a kalimba instructor. If you are a great kalimba player in the Portland area and can show A. the ropes, please contact us and we'll let her know.

While we are here, let's expand this: If you are a kalimba teacher, I am happy to advertise your contact information and your region right here in this approximately monthly newsletter.

If you live in Tucson, I will be having a Kalimba Open House on the second Wednesday of each February, March, and April. Contact us via email or call us at 520-881-4666 if you are interested.

Louis Woodyard

Louis Woodyard Sings Kalimba Praise

Having a great time with my kalimbas, they are taking me to higher and more spiritual planes in my life and music. Thanks Mark and KALIMBA MAGIC.

—Louis Woodyard
(aka Kisu Judah)




Todd Robins' New Recording

Todd Robins writes:

I am including Gentle Kalimbas, one of my recent recordings. I plan to include it on a demo recording I'm putting together.

This improvisation is a bit unusual for me. It grew out of realizing that I could get some really nice effects holing the alto in my left hand, playing only the left side; and the treble in my right, playing only the right.

The alto is in my tuning so the lower tines on each instrument have shared notes on their opposite sides. What I get are these sweet chorusy sounds. With then the higher tines varying somewhat. (I've not yet quite sat down and figured it out.)

At the time of this recording I'd been playing with this technique less than a week, so I think the performance is soft in places (you can actually hear me reposition the kalimbas at one point) but still I wanted to share this track with you as it uses both the kalimbas you've sent my way.

—Todd, Strong Thumbs Studios

By the way, Todd has invented a novel note layout that puts octaves on the same side, rather than on opposite sides as in the standard Hugh Tracey layout.

Old Style Amplifier

Steve Hackley's Amplifier

Steve Hackley writes:

This is a kalimba amplifier designed in steampunk style (Victorian mad scientist). The original electronics of the 1930s radio replica were replaced with an Orange Micro-Crush guitar amplifier, a Zoom G2 effects box, and an Insignia digital display that cycles through abstract art images.

For examples of the kinds of sounds that can be created when a kalimba is hooked up to an effects box, see Mark's YouTube post, entitled "Electric Kalimba." I personally prefer "harps in a deep well" type effects, but the Zoom G2 can do headbanger stuff, too.





Monique's Great Idea for Using Kalimba in School

Monique writes:

Happy New Year and thank you SO MUCH for the kalimbas -- my family is loving them and I took the extra one... to school, stuck it in this kid's hands and said, play something after each line of the other person singing Silent Night and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. He is 12 and I am teaching him how to read and he enjoyed the experience of playing SO MUCH that he wrote me a thank you note that had 3 sentences in it. The musical experience meant a lot to him and it helped make my maiden holiday music program successful and endearing for the school!

Thank you so much again.


Click to go to Kalimba Magic
Top of page

To sign up to receive the monthly Kalimba Magic newsletter by email,
enter your email address below:

The Kalimba Magic Newsletter Archives

Discover the world of kalimbas at http://www.kalimbamagic.com

Shop for kalimbas and accessories at