05 November 2020

Easy Christmas Music: Book for 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

At last, the hard Copy Book is available!

Easy Christmas Music: Book for 17-Note Kalimba in C

This collection of Christmas favorites has been arranged specifically for the 17-Note kalimba in C. This is the same content as the download of the same title, but it is a spiral-bound flat-laying hard copy book.

This 60-page book has tablature and sound recordings for 32 different sacred and secular Christmas songs. Most are pretty easy, but there are also some more challenging carols to give you room to grow. The sound recordings availbale from a web page and a QR code.

01 November 2020

Hear What Kalimba Magic Customers Say About Hugh Tracey Kalimbas

Posted in News and Announcements

The Hugh Tracey Kalimbas Are My Personal Favorites. But don't take my word.

Hear What Kalimba Magic Customers Say About Hugh Tracey Kalimbas

In 1986, I bought my first kalimba - a Hugh Tracey Treble. An Alto followed a few years later. I have loved and cherished my Hugh Tracey Kalimbas. In 2005 I got the chance to share my kalimba love with the world, and Kalimba Magic was born.

I have a huge shipment of Hugh Tracey Kalimbas coming in a few weeks, and I am rounding up the capital to cover the expense. Which means that I am offering a huge 25% discount on every Hugh Tracey Kalimba.

But before you purchase, would you like to hear what some of my customers have to say about their Hugh Tracey Kalimba purchase from Kalimba Magic?

06 November 2020

New Instructional eBook for "Blue Moon" Moon-10 Tuning

Posted in News and Announcements

This C minor pentatonic "Blue Moon" Moon-10 Tuning is a jamming delight

New Instructional eBook for

You cannot play the song "Blue Moon" on the "Blue Moon Tuned Moon-10 Kalimba" - in fact, there are not a lot of "standard songs" this C minor pentatonic tuning will play. However, if you want to jam and improvise and be cool and play the blues, this is a great kalimba and tuning for you!

You can purchase the Moon-10 Kalimba in this "Blue Moon" tuning, or you can retune your Moon-10 yourself!

24 November 2020

New Instructional eBook for "Golden Moon" Moon-10 Tuning

Posted in News and Announcements

The "Golden Moon" Moon-10 Tuning - gives you a lot of music on a very simple instrument

New Instructional eBook for

The Moon-10 kalimba is a new kalimba inspired by the Sansula, made in China by Magadi.  It is a very sweet and sensitive instrument with a soul-healing voice, and I feel the Golden Moon tuning brings out the best in this great instrument.

The Golden Moon Tuning of the Moon-10 Kalimba is so named because it is the most capable tuning for playing songs. Why do I say that? Check out this Golden Moon instructional download: weighing in at 106 pages, this ebook contains an extensive introduction, 26 general songs, and 20 Christmas carols. This download will help you play like I do!

17 August 2020

Hard Copy Book: Intro to the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Posted in News and Announcements

We have created eight song books for 17/C Kalimba - at last, the intro method book to help it all make sense!

Hard Copy Book: Intro to the 17-Note Kalimba in C

If you play the 17-Note Kalimba in C, this is the book you've been waiting for. It will help you chart your course through the kalimba waters in the months and years to come. It shows you all the basics, and shares links for more information about a number of topics. It has clear and simple photographs and illustrations to show you the basic playing techniques, and shows you in clear kalimba tablature examples of some of the essential kalimba playing strategies. And so much more!

17 August 2020

New: Bamboo 17-Note Kalimba

Posted in News and Announcements

This one looks and sounds bright and shiny!

New: Bamboo 17-Note Kalimba

I am particularly proud of the design of this kalimba. Ecologically sustainable bamboo, with a "KALIMBAMAGIC" swirl of motion resonating from the sound hole. My wife, artist Su Washington, and I, made this design.

"KALIMBAMAGIC" on the front is meaningful for two reasons. First, it is a call to you to create your own kalimba magic every time you pick up this kalimba. And second, this is a kalimba that I am happy to put my name on

14 August 2020

Review of the Moon-10 Kalimba

Posted in News and Announcements

Lee Rademaker loves his new Moon-10. Learn why?

Review of the Moon-10 Kalimba

The new Moon-10 Kalimba is quickly becoming a favorite to many in the kalimba world. Says my coworker, Mike Ankomeous: "Wow, the Moon-10 is super sweet. People are going to love this one."

But more important, I'll share the words of one of my good customers, Lee Rademaker: "The MOON-10 kalimba has become my favorite kalimba of choice.  For the price, you can't purchase a better kalimba to soothe the anxieties, and just let you chill out and let the music take you away."

16 August 2020

New Instructional eBook for "Silver Moon" Moon-10 Tuning

Posted in News and Announcements

This C Diatonic "Silver Moon" Tuning makes the Moon-10 capable of playing a lot of music

New Instructional eBook for

While the standard C Pentatonic Tuning of the Moon-10 kalimba is a great place to go to be wild and free, and a great place to go to jam... if you want to play more songs, you might consider going for the C Diatonic, or "Silver Moon" tuning. Check out the video... real music with just 10 notes!

16 August 2020

Phases of the Moon: Moon-10 Alternative Tunings

Posted in News and Announcements

Each tuning a different flavor, capable of its own music.

Phases of the Moon: Moon-10 Alternative Tunings

The Moon-10 Kalimba is a fantastic platform for creating music. It has a clear piercing tone, great special effects, and is not difficult to get your head around... it tilts the odds toward success.

The standard C Major Pentatonic tuning is fun, but realistically, it only scratches the surface of this instrument's possibilities. To span this instrument's potential, we need to sample some of the different possible tunings. Here are six alternative tunings you can put on your Moon-10 kalimba yourself.

17 June 2020

The eight-fold Path to Kalimba Happiness

Posted in News and Announcements

These eight steps should keep your kalimba sounding happy for many years

The eight-fold Path to Kalimba Happiness

Customer Samuel asks: "What are the most important things for me to know about keeping my kalimba happy?"

I think the most important thing is to not mistreat your kalimba. Don't drop your kalimba on the ground. Don't put things on top of your kalimba. Don't sit on your kalimba. Don't leave your kalimba in a hot car. Don't spill juice or soda on your kalimba, and don't let your kalimba get wet.

But what else do you need to know about keeping your kalimba happy?

01 July 2020

Kalimba Magic is 15 Years Old

Posted in News and Announcements

Happy Birthday! How would YOU like to celebrate? With 25% off everything?

Kalimba Magic is 15 Years Old

I remember the embarrassment shooting across my face like it was yesterday - about 20 years ago, I was playing kalimba on a bus. A certain man was listening intently, and we spoke a bit after I finished playing... and then he told me: "I bet you don't make as much as a single solitary QUARTER playing that silly little instrument!"

I never saw him again, but if I did, I would tell him that for the last 15 years, I have made my entire living from the kalimba. The kalimba is already a sacred instrument - but to me, the fact that it is also my livelihood elevates it even more.

15 July 2020

Why Do Some Kalimbas have Upward-bent tines?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Basically, it is a genius design some unknown African came up with about 800 years ago

Why Do Some Kalimbas have Upward-bent tines?

People ask me all the time: "Why do some kalimbas have some upward-bent tines?"

The short answers: it is a design element in many traditional African kalimbas, permitting two interleaved rows of tines, one with shorter tines and the other with longer tines. This not only makes the instrument physically easier to play, but also suggests a host of harmonies and musical motifs that otherwise would be difficult to play.

17 July 2020

New: The Moon-10 Kalimba

Posted in News and Announcements

This is one fun and relaxing kalimba to play

New: The Moon-10 Kalimba

This is a new kalimba from China. It almost didn't make it, as the factory where it is made in China was shut down for a few months over the Covid-19 crisis. But here they are now! The standard tuning is a C major / A minor pentatonic scale. The resonant body with goat-skin membrane makes a great wah-wah effect. The two rows of tines make for an easy division of the notes. This is a fantastic instrument for improvisation.

Each Moon-10 Kalimba comes with a soft form-fitting padded case and a 24-page instructional manual, complete with sound recordings. And it is remarkably affordable.

17 July 2020

Why is Kalimba Tablature Better Than Numbers-Based?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Kalimba Tablature can Express Essentially Any Music, and it isn't that hard

Why is Kalimba Tablature Better Than Numbers-Based?

I get a lot of requests for numbers-based instruction from people who cannot read music.

While I have created numbers-based materials, they are very limiting. The world of possibilities is huge, deep and broad, and the numbers-based instructional materials can only touch the surface.

In order to achieve kalimba greatness, I suggest you move over to the graphical Kalimba Tablature. To see some of the advantages to this approach, read on, dear reader!

26 May 2020

Comparing the Alto and the Treble Kalimbas

Posted in News and Announcements

Which One is Right for You?

Comparing the Alto and the Treble Kalimbas

How does the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba compare to the Hugh Tracey Treble kalimba?

While the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba is physically larger than the Treble, it has only 15 tines, while the Treble has 17 tines. How does that work? How do you get more tines on a smaller instrument?

Just for reference sake: the boatload of newish Chinese-made kalimbas are mostly modeled after the 17-Note Treble kalimba. At this time, there are no larger Chinese-made kalimbas modeled after the 15-Note Alto kalimba.

Read on for more information on the Alto and Treble kalimbas!

12 May 2020

Tablature for Payphone on the 17-Note C Kalimba

Posted in News and Announcements

This is a great song to play on the kalimba

Tablature for Payphone on the 17-Note C Kalimba

I long thought that the best music was created in the 1960s, and some in the 1970s.

However, I am now of the belief that the pop music of the last 10 years is as good as its ever been. So I am starting to learn some of these modern pop songs on kalimba, and you, dear reader, will be the beneficiary of these pop songs.

Enjoy this arrangement of the Maroon 5 song "Payphone".

12 May 2020

The Kalimba Doctors

Posted in News and Announcements

Do you have a tired old kalimba that doesn't ring true? We can help

The Kalimba Doctors

The most important thing you can do to keep your kalimba sounding good is to keep it in tune. The second most important thing you can do is to fix any buzzing tines.

We give you the resources you need to do these kalimba maintenance items yourself - click through to see the links.

If you are unable to accomplish the tuning and fixing yourself, let me introduce you to The Kalimba Doctors: Mark Holdaway, and Mike Ankomeus. Together, we will do our best to improve your old kalimba in about a dozen different ways.

12 May 2020

Kiaat Wood - the wood of the Hugh Tracey kalimba since 1954

Posted in News and Announcements

What makes African kiaat wood so great?

Kiaat Wood - the wood of the Hugh Tracey kalimba since 1954

In the 1950s, Hugh Tracey made prototype kalimbas from dozens of different types of African hard woods. In the end, he chose Kiaat for the wood for his new invention, the Hugh Tracey Kalimba. Even though it was a new-fangled instrument, it reflected many design choices from traditional instruments, and the Kiaat wood choice was one of those, as many traditional kalimbas were made from Kiaat wood.

And today, in 2020 - or 66 years later for the math challenged among us - the Hugh Tracey Kalimba is still made from Kiaat African hardwood.

What makes kiaat so special?

29 April 2020

The Original 1968 Hugh Tracey Kalimba Manual

Posted in News and Announcements

The Full Historical Document in PDF, Free To You

The Original 1968 Hugh Tracey Kalimba Manual

When Hugh Tracey made his new kalimbas back in 1954, there were only a few people in the world who could play this non-traditional African instrument.

But what about people in Africa? Didn't they too play kalimba? They did, but they played instruments with other designs, other setups, and other tunings. The Hugh Tracey Kalimba was a new instrument in the kalimba family, ideally suited to playing western music.

Hugh's eldest son Andrew Tracey went to Oxford to study music so he could write a manual for the Hugh Tracey kalimbas. This old 1968 manual is hard to find, so I scanned it and make it available to you (with AMI permission, of course).

08 April 2020

The Kalimba History Video

Posted in News and Announcements

The Prime Lesson:
The Kalimba Comes From Africa

The Kalimba History Video

I recently got this message in my Facebook feed:

"Hey man, I just wanted to say thank you for your research regarding the kalimba. I came across it randomly and thought it originated in Asia, but boy was I wrong! Thank you for showing us where its true roots lie."

Yes, so many kalimbas are made in China that the African roots of the instrument are becoming obscured. I have a really cool video I made that explains some of the important parts of the kalimba's story in Africa.

12 May 2020

Stango and Nongoma - Music from Zimbabwe

Posted in News and Announcements

If you have an F-15 Karimba (Nyunga Nyunga) you can play along with them

Stango and Nongoma - Music from Zimbabwe

In 1960, Andrew Tracey discovered the karimba player Jega Tapera in the township surrounding Bullawayo (then Rhodesia). Jega Tapera taught Dumisani Maraire to play karimba... which he renamed mbira nyunga nyunga. And Dumisani taught his daughter Chiwoniso to play mbira nyunga nyunga.

Jega, Dumi, and Chiwoniso are all gone.

But now, there is Stango and Nongoma!

If you are looking for inspiration for your karimba or nyunga nyunga playing, check out their music!

08 April 2020

Kalimba Magic and Coronavirus

Posted in News and Announcements

We are open for business and we are practicing social isolation, hand cleaning, and more

Kalimba Magic and Coronavirus

Welcome to the new world. While I don't know exactly what that means, I can do my best to reassure you that what we ship to you is safe and will not get you sick. This is important for all of us. Read more to find out what we are doing to keep ourselves - and YOU - safe!

 

01 April 2020

The Attitude of Gratitude

Posted in News and Announcements

Thank you to the world for this opportunity to keep on serving you

The Attitude of Gratitude

When life slaps you in the face, what do you do?

You get to decide. It is all up to you. But if you keep walking with an attitude of gratitude for the things that still work, for the sun that shines warm on your face, the wind that cools you down, the rain that waters the plants, the stars that shine at night, and the song that plays on in your heart - you'll have a much better time of it.

I am able to give a huge shout of "THANK YOU" to the kalimba community for my job of sailing this ship called Kalimba Magic. Thank you for trusting me at this time.

08 April 2020

Creativity and Kalimba Tunings

Posted in News and Announcements

Creativity and Kalimba Tunings

 Most people who play kalimba quickly discover a set of musical tricks that are easy to do and sound good... but sometimes, they get stuck in a rut and don't really know what else to do. To get out of the rut, they could get a new kalimba with a different number of tines or a different note layout, as the new kalimba would provide new vistas and new opportunities for creativity. Most people who play kalimba for more than a few years will end up getting multiple kalimbas. 

However, there is an easier way to get the feeling of a new kalimba, without paying for anything: have you considered trying a brand new tuning on your kalimba?

New tunings can loosen up your conception of the kalimba and help you be more creative. We present alternative tunings for: 17-Note Kalimba in C, Alto Kalimba, Sansulas, African tuned Karimba, and 8-Note and 10-Note Kalimbas.

[12 3 4 5  >>