Sep 5, 2015
Vol 10, Num 4

Kalimba Magic NEWS

Kalimba Community News

Kalimbas on Tiles

Are you doing something cool with the kalimba? Have you released a new CD, or a new video on YouTube? Do you have an upcoming kalimba performance? Do you have some cool photos to share? Contact us and we'll get your story or pics onto the Community page to help you share your news or other good stuff with the kalimba world!

Decio Gioieli

Check out Decio Gioieli's Website!

Brazilian kalimba star Decio Gioieli has a new website. This site features his kalimba work: three CDs, one book, video, photos, and more! Decio's day job is playing percussion professionally in a symphony orchestra, so you can bet he brings a lot of precision and education to his kalimba playing. He is Andrew Tracey's favorite kalimba player. Though he plays mostly on kalimba and karimba, he also does work with the mbira, making him a rare crossover player. (Most mbira players cannot deal with the idea of a kalimba, and most kalimba players cannot deal with the mbira.)

Jerry Preston

Jerry Preston Travels With His Alto Kalimba

Jerry Preston is an accomplished keyboard player, who, in his later years, picked up the kalimba. He adores the portability of this little instrument. When he travels in the Caribbean or in Europe, he takes along his Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba to keep the music going.

By the way, Jerry is quite an interesting guy! He has a virtual wildlife refuge in his yard in Florida where racoons and snakes eat out of his hands and, recently, he invested in a little helicoptor drone with digital camera, and he takes it to all sorts of cool places.

Alan Goodman's Kalimba Class

Alan Goodman's Kalimba Class, and I-Ching Kalimba

Alan combines kalimba with ukulele, xylophones, and drums for K-12 music education at Thornton-Donovan School in New Rochelle, New York. He writes:

I've been a musician all of my life, and the kalimba has totally changed the way I approach my other "main" instruments, as well as how I approach music in general, and I can honestly say that introducing the Kalimba to my students has changed the culture of my school... Kids from kindergarten through 12th grade walk into my room and grab the kalimbas, wanting to make that music...!

Hey Mark, I also just got the I Ching Kalimba yesterday, and already it is my favorite Kalimba! I have the alto, treble, SaReGaMa, and a few others, but this thing beats them all in terms of possibilities! Love your instructional material for it, and am having a blast tinkering away...thanks!


Dan Kruse

Dan Kruse Documentary on Ear Worms

Don't you hate it when you inadvertantly hear a popular but annoying song or commerical that then takes up habitation in your brain for the rest of the day or longer? Urban contempoary slang terms these little monsters ear worms.

Ethnomusicologist Dan Kruse of AZ Public Media and the University of Arizona's Music Department did a research project on ear worms, and his documentary film about ear worms opens with the song Robert's Dream from Mark Holdaway's CD Two Thumbs Up (2001). (Hopefully, Robert's Dream doesn't transform into ear worm nightmare for any member of the audience.

Anui Kalimba

Ivodne Galatea: 5-Note Japanese String Music on a Kalimba!

One of the ways that makes the kalimba unique is that you can totally independently tune the different tines. You can set it up in any scale you want, it is so incredibly flexible. Even better, you can change the tuning in a matter of minutes or less.

Ivodne Galatea has adapted the kalimba to play the music of the Japanese Tonkori, a five-note pentatonic stringed instrument played by the aboriginal Ainu people of Hokaido, the large northern island of Japan. I think of this instrument as the Japanese version of the Native American flute.

The Tonkori tradition has well-defined and ancient songs. Ivodne will be producing a book of Tonkori music which can be played on a pentatonic kalimba, but Ivodne plays this music on a special kalimba just for this music made by Darko Korosec which features a doubling of each note in octaves. We'll keep you posted as this project approaches completion.


Hang Drum Scales on the Inexpensive 8-Note Kalimba

Hang Drum Catania 8-Note Kalimba

Hang drums are much coveted new age instruments that cost a few thousand dollars. The Catania 8-note kalimba costs $38 and is typically played by children. However, the lowly 8-note kalimba has great tuning flexibility, a decent tone, and is highly portable. You can easily put the 8-note kalimba into any scale at all and even consider it a tuning laboratory for exploring tunings. Retuning a hang drum can be done by the people who make them but it is a real pain, while retuning the 8-note kalimba takes five minutes and almost anyone can do it.

Diane Soini got herself an 8-note kalimba, and writes:

I am loving this 8 note kalimba. It's like having all the handpan drums. I can tune it to all these interesting scales and then just riff away with it. I found a whole bunch of hang scales at Pantheon Steel [makers of the Halo drum, a hang drum competitor]. My favorites include the Silverado scale and the Mixophonic scale.

Tips on retuning: Loosen the Catania kalimba's bridge mechanism bolts by 1/2 turn. Use a tuner. Hang drum scales are usually between 1 and 2 octaves, while the 8-note kalimba has a 1-octave range when they ship to Kalimba Magic. The low note on the 8-note kalimba, middle C, can go down as far as G (a 4th lower than standard), and the top note, C above middle C, can easily go up to a G, producing a two octave range. The Pantheon Steel tunings often start on C. For those scales that have a two octave range, it does make sense to transpose them down to G. After you retune the kalimba, retighten the bolts a half turn, then check the tuning again.

Oh, and the big disadvantage of the hang drum? When you get tired of the scale, there is nothing you can do but put it down. When you get tired of the kalimba's scale, you can just seek out another special scale, spend 5-10 minutes retuning the notes to that scale, and away you go on another little adventure!


Marito Marques Loops the Electric Kalimba

Marito Marques Marito Marques

Marito Marques is a hot young drummer who just happens to play some awesome electric kalimba. Here he is looping the kalimba through his infinite pedal board. Part of what makes the video below interesting is the tonal variation Marito gets through using his different pedals. If you don't like the clacky tone of the first part of the video, jump to 1/3 or 1/2 of the way though and see where he gets to - fascinating!

Marito also has progressive jazz recordings where he is playing drum kit, with some cool kalimba layered in.

Stella Chiwesha

N. Scott Robinson's Website is a Great Resource

N. Scott Robinson has a great website with info on tons of mbira players and kalimba players - mostly folks playing traditional African music, including Stella Chiwesha shown here.

Roland P Young

Roland P. Young: The Misunderstood Pioneer of Ambient Electronica

There is a new video on Roland P. Young, sax and clarinet jazz man and sometimes kalimba player and proclaimed "misunderstood pioneer of ambient electric music." He had a thing going in the 60s and again in the 80s, and as any real musician, he just doesn't stop. Very prolific, and now popular in Japan.



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