Why does AMI use a western scale for an African instrument?
Ah, that's a very good question! Hugh Tracey traveled about Africa recording traditional music and documenting the scales that different villages and groups of people used. There was a wide diversity of scales. Scales with 5, 6, and 7 notes were found, but the exact tunings of these scales would be different for each group. Kalimba-like instruments were widely used in Africa, and hundreds of different tunings existed.
So, what should be the strategy? To market the 5 most popular scales? To market every scale? Or to market the scale that the western ear has grown accustomed to? Also remember that this western scale has now taken over the African ear as well. By the way, you CAN tune the kalimba to whatever scale you want. Unlike a wind instrument where the relative tuning of all the notes is fixed(you can tune all the notes up or down together), or a guitar where the different strings can be tuned, each note on the kalimba must be tuned, so you can really tune a kalimba to any scale you desire.