Tom Spicer now has a website where you can purchase/download his kalimba and bass compositions individually. If you have not heard his music, it is simply top notch—he is a true artist at what he does. When "The Spiceman" isn't creating amazing music, he is running a local (North Texas), organic produce business (select "Fresh Produce" from the main menu of this site). Tom has a another website where you can listen to the songs from his CDs. Check out his video for Spice Daddy, if you don't believe he's playing both kalimba and bass all at once (on the main menu of this site, under "CD#1" select "Spice Daddy").
Frank Zabel has written a piece of classical music including the kalimba, Objets Sombres - Sons Noirs. This piece, written for 3 pianos, 3 harps, 3 percussion instruments and live electronics, will be premiered in February '09 by Zabel's Ensemble Différance in two concert halls in Germany.
February 22, 2009: Kulturhaus Lüdenscheid
February 26, 2009: Tonhalle Düsseldorf
Das Ensemble Différance spielt unter der Leitung von Rüdiger Bohn Werke für 3 Klaviere, 3 Harfen und 3 Schlagzeuger: P. Boulez "sur Incises" sowie 2 UAs von Frank Zabel (OBJETS SOMBRES - SONS NOIRS) und Stefan Thomas (Statoplosion)
The "schlagzeuger" would be the ones playing the kalimba.
While searching for kalimba content online, I came across this kalimba article by "African Culture" editor Jeanne Daigle. The article on the kalimba may be short and sweet, but there are several other interesting articles that make up the African Culture section of the greater site BellaOnline, which identifies itself as a publishing community for women.
I have been seeing wonderful karimbas showing up in YouTube videos from Poland, and have sold a few kalimbas to people in Poland, but recently someone turned me onto this Polish mbira and karimba maker. This is definitely worth a look.
Kevin Nathaniel says:
I'll send you more details on the kalimba-making later, but for now it's on Sundays at around 4pm in Williamsburg at Wula Drum (118 North 11 st, Brooklyn, NY). Folks can contact me directly for more details - kevinmbira("at")hotmail.com - as we are just getting it up and running. I should probably announce it in the next issue, but it's fine for people to know and to get an idea of who in my area is interested. Thanks so much, Kevin
We'll be carrying Kevin's CD Mbira Sanctuary soon. From Kevin's writeup:
The mbira is an ancient instrument from Africa that is played with the thumbs and/or the fingers depending upon style. Mbira Sanctuary is an acoustic recording of mbira songs composed and performed by Kevin Nathaniel. As the title suggests, it is a musical sanctuary, a peaceful place where the mbira sound echoes in joyous melody and rhythm. The tracks feature various mbira styles with a sparse reed flute accompaniment. The CD is dedicated to the spirit of peace, of meditation, of dance, and to the ancestors. Suitable for any occasion, Mbira Sanctuary is an offering toward the future of mbira.
I came across Derrik Jordan's music lately - he looks and sounds very interesting as a musician, and this is what he says about how he uses the kalimba:
I've only used kalimba on two tracks on my CDs so far. Those tracks are on my CD "Touch The Earth" (the title track). There are stereo kalimbas going on in the choruses of this song. "SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal" has a kalimba, quica and talking drum break in the middle on a track called "Jump 12." For both I'm using the diatonic tuning in G major (the Hugh Tracey alto).
I use kalimba a lot live when I perform solo these days, setting up a loop with the kalimba first and then playing my electric violin over it.
I'm thinking of doing a whole CD of kalimba and electric violin with some other great musicians and cool instruments but haven't gotten very far on it yet.
I'm using the Hugh Tracey alto these days a lot since I'm composing a piece for kalimba, string quartet and shekere called "Welcome Santo." For this one I'm using a suspended pentatonic tuning with E as the tonic ( E F# A B D). Hopefully it will be completed in a month or so.
Part of the art of woodwork is in how the grain is used.
I just love the way the tines echo the grain of this kalimba's wood.
Writes Al (alonkka("at")gmail.com), who prefers to call it a karimba:
The tines are bike spokes with the striking ends pounded a lot, and the bridge ends pounded a little to keep them from rotating. I've found that more modern alloy spokes have a warmer sound and the old steel spokes are a little brighter. I've experimented with some other tine material, but the bike spokes are easy to work with, easy to find, and have a purer sound!
I forgot who sent me this photo, but their cat just loves the
vibrations of the karimba and likes to reach out and touch it.
Kevin Spears, bathed in the light, playing his kalimba.