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The Sansula is a wonderful new kalimba invented by Peter Hokema. Here you will find a list of resources for learning about the Sansula.
Check out the video below, which shows me demonstrating the Sansula.
Guides to Playing the Sansula
Sansula Models Available from Kalimba Magic
The Sansula Tuning
All Sansulas come in the standard tuning or, for an additional $8, can be retuned to the Beautiful E tuning or Tark's Heavnely A tuning. The standard Sansula tuning is in A minor, which sounds moody and mystical and brooding. The Beautiful E Tuning on the other hand is in E major, full of light and positivity and openness. The standard tuning has one pair of tines tuned to the same note, and the E tuning removes that redundancy, giving 9 different notes, expanding the potential for harmonic complexity. We can also recommend the Heavenly A tuning (thanks to Tark) and the Morocco Tuning for Middle-Eastern playing.
The Standard Tuning
The standard tuning is an Ake Bono Japanese pentatonic scale in A minor, so the Sansula can play with any C major or A minor kalimba. The wonderful thing about the Sansula is that it sort of comes with its own song pre-loaded. This is the magic of the tuning and note layout - wonderfully mystical and beautiful music just falls out of it.We have done three series of tips for the Sansula in standard tuning:
The Beautiful E Tuning for Sansula
While the standard Sansula tuning is really wonderful, it is difficult to drive the Sansula elsewhere if you know very much about music -- unless you retune the Sansula. Retuning is difficult, and you need to be careful so you don't rip the drum skin or hurt yourself on the metal tines. Peter Hokema recommends retuning with a small hammer, but I use pliers. Retuning can be very fruitful in expanding the scope of what the Sansula can do. The best tuning I have invented is the Beautiful E Tuning.
Two resources for the Sansula in Beautiful E Tuning:
The Heavenly A Tuning for Sansula
Rick Tarquinio invented the Heavenly A Tuning for Sansula shortly after Mark Holdaway invented the Beautiful E Tuning. Here is our own Heavenly A Sansula video:
The Morocco E Tuning for Sansula
I am gussing there are on the order of a hundred great tunings available to the Sansula, and I have only heard about ten of them - will you be the next to find one of these great tunings?
Sansula Retuning Service
By the way, if you are afraid to retune your Sansula, we can retune it for you for $20, domestic return shipping included. Retuning a Sansula is more difficult that retuning a Hugh Tracey. The flip side is that these kalimbas stay in tune better and longer than the Hugh Tracey kalimbas. It takes me about 10 minutes to go from standard Sansula tuning to E tuning, but it took one of my clients two hours to do the same job. We can also invent new tunings for you if you have particular requirements for a special song.
Other instruments that go great with the Sansula:
Repairing a Sansula
Kalimba Magic no longer sells the Standard Sansula - i.e., the one with the rice paper-thin drum head - because they break too easily. We still sell the Deluxe Sansula with goat skin head, and the Sansula Renaissance with a synthetic Remo head. We have not heard of any instances of these models breaking like the Standard Sansula was prone to doing.
I do not recommend that people drum on the Sansula drum head. The heads are fairly fragile and the the Standard Sansula heads do break. If you have a small hole, rip, or tear, immediately go after it with super glue - that should work for a long time. Sansulas dropped on the ground from just a few feet can have their drum heads shattered. If the drum head shatters or rips in a way that cannot be glued, you are out of luck - or rather, your regular Sansula just turned itself into a pocket Sansula.
If you are concerned about the possibility of the drum head ripping or shattering (i.e., if you want to work with children playing the Sansula, or if you tend to drop things), there are three options for you: you can purchase the pocket Sansula (i.e., the kalimba without the drum head), you can purchase the deluxe Sansula, with a goat skin drum head which is more robust, or you could go for the Remo-headed Sansula Renaissance.
Still Have Sansula Questions?
If the tips and links offered here don't address your questions about the Sansula, feel free to contact me!
Last updated Nov 2011