What's the Buzz at Kalimba Magic

Happy Mark

Finding Your Way Around the Kalimba Magic Website

Back in 2006, I asked a neighbor of mine, Susan Taunton, to do some work for me and design a web site that could organize all of the kalimba materials I had at hand, and could grow to accommodate all the kalimba materials I had in mind. Through our collaboration, we produced a web site that is friendly, functional, and beautiful. The coolest thing about it is that almost four years later, the web site has the same basic structure, and while we are always adding to the site, we don't have any plans to change that basic structure. In other words, if you invest an hour to learn your way around the web site, that investment will pay off for you next week, next month, next year, and probably beyond.

There are a lot of new kalimba players out there - several hundred people got kalimbas as holiday presents, or gifted kalimbas to themselves. This has swelled the numbers of people on the Kalimba Magic mailing list, and with so many new folks in the kalimba community, it seemed like a good idea to give a proper introduction to the Kalimba Magic web site in this issue of the newsletter. Over the next few months, we'll be walking you through what is available at the Kalimba Magic web site - this will help you find the resources you need when you need them.


One of the most useful aspects of the Kalimba Magic website is the search tool. In the upper left corner of the Kalimba Magic home page (and on many other pages too) you will find a search window. Enter a word or a phrase into this window and click on "Search," and you will get links to the pages on the Kalimba Magic site which contain the words in the search phrase. I use this many times each day.

I think the most important information on the Kalimba Magic web site is in the Learn How pages. These pages act as an index to the Kalimba Magic site, linking to Tips and newsletter articles that will help you play a number of different types of kalimbas. Perhaps the most important page in the Learn How section is the Kalimba Fundamentals page. This page covers basic nomenclature of the kalimba and its parts, but also shows you how to fix most common problems you might have with your kalimba, including fixing the buzzes that can crop up. There are also links to tips that show you how to set up your kalimba to optimize its performance. After that, the pages on Kalimba Tuning and Thumb Nail Care are also very useful.

Several pages in the Learn How pages are devoted to our most popular kalimbas - the Hugh Tracey Alto, the Hugh Tracey Treble, the African-Tuned Karimba, the Pentatonic Kalimba, the 8-Note Kalimba, and the Sansula. These pages serve as an index for instructional resources, books, downloads, free tips, and articles that are specific to each type of kalimba. If you own one of these kalimbas, this would be an excellent first stop on your kalimba journey.

At Kalimba Magic, we do much more than sell you a kalimba. We help you decide which kalimba or kalimbas is right for you. We show you how to keep your kalimba in top working order, and we teach you how you can make amazing music with this instrument. The magic begins when you fall in love with your first kalimba and make it your own, but the magic deepens as your relationship develops over time. Explore our web site and join us on this rich journey into the heart of the kalimba.

Alto and Treble

The Sweetheart Deal: Alto and Treble Kalimba

For some reason, there are more men than women who buy kalimbas. I observe this in my YouTube video viewership: 75% male, 25% female. That's what it was like going to MIT in 1980!

Now, why is that?

Guys, here is your chance to get your gal something wonderful and beautiful and fun, something for you and your love to do together - and help out that male to female ratio. A Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba with Pickup for your large hands, and a Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba with Pickup for your gal's smaller hands. If your gal wears the big hands in your relationship, you can always trade. And Kalimba Magic is open and affirming of all relationships based on love and mutual respect - sweethearts come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

By the way, you can listen to a very simple song for the Alto and Treble kalimbas that my wife and I wrote while at a rest stop on an Arizona interstate. This particular rest stop has since been closed due to state budget constraints, but we believe our little song will immortalize that very special rest stop.

Anyway, the Sweetheart Deal offers these two kalimbas and an instructional book (you call it, or I'll send you the Alto book) at a 23% discount - i.e., a $266 value, for only $205. Get this great deal now, before our February 1 Hugh Tracey price increase, which will take the Sweetheart Deal with it.


Kalimba Open House

I'll be having a Kalimba Open House at my home in Tucson Arizona about once a month. I'll aim for the second Wednesday of each month, from 6-9 pm. These open houses will serve as a way for kalimba enthusiasts and musicians in southern Arizona to come in and see what Kalimba Magic is all about. You could come and play music with me, get some instruction, look at the books and CDs we have available, come over and buy a kalimba, or just talk about kalimba, Africa, music, etc. Beginners and advanced players are welcome, we'll just make something good happen.

The first Kalimba Open House will be on Wed Feb 10, 6-9pm.

The second Kalimba Open House will be on Wed March 10, 6-9pm.

The third Kalimba Open House will be Wed April 14, 6-9pm.

If you would like to come to one of these open houses, email me for directions or give me a call at (520) 881-4666.

The kalimba is a thousand year old African technology.

Black History Month Kalimba Presentation for Download

The kalimba is an amazing instrument with a rich and varied history that begins in Africa. You can download this Kalimba History PDF and use it as the basis for a Black History Month presentation! Also available is a Kalimba Fact Sheet PDF to hand out to students.

A Rose that witnessed the 2009 AMTA Meeting

Music Therapists: How Do YOU Use the Kalimba?

Before I went to the national Music Therapy meeting in San Diego last fall, I wrote up a 6 page document suggesting 10 Easy Ways to Use the Kalimba in Music Therapy. This document contains some important details that will be useful to kalimba players in general, and some very simple ideas that should give you a lot to work with in your practice.

But when I went to San Diego, I heard from some more MTs about how they are using the kalimba, and I decided that I should write "10 More Easy Ways."

Would you like to be part of that?

Send me your ideas on how to use the kalimba in MT, along with your name, a little photo of you, and a web site if you'd like us to link to that. I'll be publishing the best of these ideas in the March edition of the Kalimba Magic newsleter.

By the way, we are confirmed to be presenting at 3 regional music therapy meetings:

We also hope to present at the Mid-West Region meeting in Fort Collins, CO on April 11.

If you live in or near one of these cities and you would like a kalimba lesson, or would otherwise be interested in hooking up to talk kalimba, I may be able to schedule a meeting with you. Please contact me if you would like to get together.

We had to turn down offers at South-West Region and New England Region due to conflicts with other regional meetings, so we will make it a priority to try to get to those regions next year.


Kalimba Magic is Looking for Writers

Kalimba Magic is growing, and in the near future I won't be able to deal with it all by myself. I am taking this opportunity to send out a call for help to the community of people who know how to play kalimba and can also write.

In 9-18 months, I will be looking to hire a writer who can assist with the Kalimba Magic newsletter. This will probably be 10-20 hours per week, and you can do this work from anywhere in the US that has phone and internet service.

Sooner, I am also looking for one or more contract employees who can write series for our Tips of the Day. These will be short term commitments, say 5-15 tips in each series. Each tip is a single idea on a single web page, and you can use photographs, diagrams, video, or tablature to help make your point. You don't need to know how to code in HTML or prepare images for web display. In addition to preparing your content for web viewing, my webmaster/editor will polish any rough spots in your copy.

Tips cover a variety of instruments and styles, and I am open to new ideas. Also, the tips gig could very well expand into the newsletter writer position I will be looking to fill some months down the line. So, if you love to play kalimba, have some interesting ideas to share with other people, and you are good at sharing your ideas in writing, why don't you drop me a line? Pitch me your idea for a series of tips and how many tips it will cover, and let's start talking.

Think of it as your own weekly column. We'll post your photo with your tip along with a link to your own web page or your email address. And, after the series of tips is done, your pages will live on in the Kalimba Magic website's Tips Archives.

I am just one person, with my own perspective and my own blind spots. So I am looking to you, the community of kalimba players, to broaden that perspective. This is not just an opportunity for me to broaden my world, it is also an opportunity for you to broaden yours.


February 2010: Hugh Tracey Price Increase

Yes, I know that I've been carrying on about the South African Rand, which is doing so very well, and the US Dollar, which has been punched in the stomach. What that means right now, for me and for you, is that prices for the Hugh Tracey kalimbas will be going up substantially. The kalimbas I am buying from South Africa today cost 64% more in dollars than they did a year ago. It is just my generally agreeable nature and my soft heart (and my fear that the kalimba market will totally collapse) that have prevented me from passing all of that 64% price increase on to you.

The Alto jumped up in price in the fall of 2009 when I ran out of them and had to replace them with the new more expensive kalimbas. On February 1, 2010, the rest of the kalimbas will catch up with the Alto as each Hugh Tracey's price is increased by between 15% and 25%.

At this point, prices for Hokema Sansulas, Catania Kalimbas, and Goshen Kalimbas are essentially holding steady for 2010.

While the Hugh Tracey price increase is sad, it is what I need to do to stay in business. But there IS an upside, right here and now: Hugh Tracey Kalimbas are less expensive right now than they will be in February!


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