07 December 2017

Christmas Kalimba Videos

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Christmas Carols are so so beautiful on kalimba

Playing Christmas Carols on the kalimba was my big breakthrough back in 2002. People in my home town were not taking the kalimba very seriously as an instrument. I had been casually working on Christmas carols for about three years, and I decided that I really needed to step up my game.

I put together a medley of 12 Christmas songs in 12 minutes, telling the emotional story of Christmas: searching for God in the darkness, the birth of Jesus, and the joy of all creation. And back in 2002, I worked the medley for an hour a day for two months, and my performance in Tucson was a knockout!

While I still play the original medley, I have branched out a bit as well! I share with you all of my Christmas kalimba videos.


The newest addition to the Kalimba collection, and I am SINGING!


How might you learn to play these songs? Kalimba tablature! I have several Christmas books and some free Christmas carol resources as well.


Carol of the Bells requires you to play two independet parts at once. A better version can be played with the Chromatic kalimba.


This medley includes "Frosty the Snowman", "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer", and "Santa Clauss is Coming to Town", and is one of my favorites. These songs require the extended range of the Bb Treble Kalimba.


This video shows how you can modulate from one key to another by using multiple kalimbas.


Even though Part II of the Christmas Medley has 1/4 the views as Part I, I think the music here is better.


Part I of the Christmas Medley.


Listed below are some of the resources that can help you get better at playing Christmas carols yourself!  Enjoy!  Happy holidays and Merry Christmas.


Christmas Carols for Alto and Treble Kalimbas

Christmas Carols for Alto and Treble Kalimbas

Beginners and old pros alike can use this book to experience the joys of playing Christmas music on the kalimba. Kalimba tablature makes playing kalimba songs easy! The arrangements in this book are more basic than those in the advanced book. About 75% of this book is arranged for Alto and 25% is arranged for Treble. CD included.

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Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

This book of 20 arrangements of advanced Christmas carols for the Alto kalimba is great for the person who has been seriously playing kalimba for a year or more. These are very similar to the arrangements that I myself play at holiday performances each year.

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Advanced Christmas Carols for the Treble Kalimba

Advanced Christmas Carols for the Treble Kalimba

This book of 20 arrangements of advanced Christmas Carols for the Treble Kalimba is great for the person who has been seriously playing kalimba for a year or more. These arrangements are very similar to what I play on kalimba at my holiday performances each year.

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Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

Advanced arrangements of 20 Christmas Carols for the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba - downloadable tablature in PDF and KTabS format. MP3s included. These are the same arrangements as in the advanced books.

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Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the B flat Treble Kalimba

Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the B flat Treble Kalimba

Downloadable tablature in PDF and KTabS format for advanced arrangements of 20 Christmas Carols for the Hugh Tracey Bb Treble kalimba. MP3s included. By the way, I first worked out the carol arrangements on a Bb Treble; and the Bb Treble is the instrument I usually play these carols on now. The advanced Alto and advanced Treble arrangements are derived from these original ones - this one is The Source!

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Hugh Tracey Alto+PU

Hugh Tracey Alto+PU

The Alto kalimba is simply one of the best kalimbas available anywhere. I've been playing mine for 29 years, and still going strong. I have written more books, downloads, and other instructional material for this kalimba than for any other. It is easy to play and to figure out, yet you can spend a lifetime growing with it. You can't go wrong with this instrument. (The "PU" means an electronic pickup. Everything is available without or with a pickup.)

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Hugh Tracey Treble+PU

Hugh Tracey Treble+PU

The Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba is actually the very first kalimba Hugh Tracey brought to market. It has a slightly higher pitched sound, perhaps more angelic and more beautiful than the Alto Kalimba.

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B flat Treble Kalimba + PU

B flat Treble Kalimba + PU

I do prefer the higher pitch range of the Treble kalimba for Christmas Carols, but I grew up playing the Alto kalimba, and really prefer the Alto arrangement with the root note in the bass. So, I combined the best elements of the Treble and the Alto kalimbas to make the Bb (B flat) Treble Kalimba, which is what I play most of my Christmas carols on.

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Chromatic Kalimba - for the serious music nerd!

Chromatic Kalimba - for the serious music nerd!

Some people need all of the notes. While I find that I can play most Christmas carols on the diatonic kalimbas (the Alto and Treble), some really require the chromatic notes. On the front side of the Chromatic Kalimba, you have the same notes as the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba in G, which is not difficult to play. These notes will follow the Alto books. On the back, you have all the notes missing from the G major scale - so a skilled player using thumbs on the front and fingers on the back can play essentially any melody and any harmony, limited only by their imagination.

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Mark Holdaway's Christmas Kalimba CD

Mark Holdaway's Christmas Kalimba CD

A CD of beautiful and peaceful Christmas Carols performed by Mark Holdaway on the kalimba with some additional backing instrumentation. 40 minutes, 10 tracks, 21 carols. If you are looking for some inspiration in your playing, look no further.

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The Magical Music Box - Story Book with CD

The Magical Music Box - Story Book with CD

A delightful story that captivates audiences of all ages!

The Toymaker had been so busy all Christmas season that he hadn't had time to finish his own son's gift, and on Christmas Eve, he was running out of time. With the help of an angel, a broken music box is repaired, and it magically plays the favorite Christmas carol of whoever winds it up.

But what happens when neighbor Rabbi Goldstein, who doesn't even like Christmas music, winds up the music box? So begins a shaggy dog story that will warm your heart and bring you back to one of the core messages of Christmas.

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Free Tablature:

Free Tablature: "Carol of the Bells" for Chromatic Kalimba

While many Christmas carols can be played on diatonic kalimbas, some - such as the favorite "Carol of the Bells" really require the chromatic kalimba to be played correctly.

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Free Tabature:

Free Tabature: "Away in a Manger" for 8-Note Kalimba

While the 8-Note kalimba can't play too many Christmas carols, it does play "Joy to the World" in standard tuning and "Away in a Manger" in F tuning.

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Free Tablature:

Free Tablature: "Coventry Carol" for Freygish Karimba

"Coventry Carol" is a very old English carol that requires the harmonic minor scale - that is, the scale used in the Freygish tuned Karimba.

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Free Tablature:

Free Tablature: "Away in a Manger" for Alto Kalimba

This tablature shows you the melody for "Away in a Manger", and then shows you how to add chords to the melody to make the song sound very full.

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Free Tablature:

Free Tablature: "Carol of the Bells" on Alto Kalimba

"Carol of the Bells" does have a chromatic part, but you can finesse it on the diatomic Alto. This tablature shows you how to play the version I do on YouTube.

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About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.

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