What's the Buzz at Kalimba Magic

Happy Mark


Announcing the 2009 Kalimba Magic Catalog!

Kalimba Magic 2009 Catalog
The 2009 Kalimba Magic Catalog is here!

Putting the Kalimba Magic Catalog together is a huge undertaking - it is about as much work as putting a kalimba instructional book together, but it gets spread out over four people. Glen Davis took the photographs, Robert "Swami" Peizer did the graphics layout, Susan Taunton did the web interfacing, and I stood back and watched it happen while pretending to tell everyone what to do.

We recently mailed out catalogs to everyone who bought something from Kalimba Magic in Dec 2008, Jan 2009, and Feb 2009. If you buy something today, a 2009 Catalog will be included in your package. But if you have not yet purchased anything from Kalimba Magic and would like a free catalog, just drop us an email and we'll mail you one.

A contest entry
"Send us your photo!"
Photo by Glen Davis (Contest Judge)

Kalimba Magic Photo Contest: Send Us Your Photo!

In response to the contest that we announced in February, Kalimba Magic received a number of great photos of kalimbas with animals or in nature, but we have not made a final judgment. In fact, we'd like to receive more submissions. Therefore, we have extended the contest until April 30th.

We also still owe some number of people CDs to thank them for their wonderful contest ideas. We apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience.

The Spring Special
The Alto package is on special for April.

Spring Alto Kalimba Special

The first kalimba I ever fell in love with was the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba. Its wide tines were easy to play, and there was enough space in the note layout that it was easy for me to play the right notes. But the real kicker was that this kalimba starts on the root note and goes up two octaves to end on the root note - G. So, it was easy for me to get my head around.

So it is no wonder that the Alto kalimba is my biggest seller. For March and April, we are selling an alto kalimba package deal at a great price: the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba with pickup, my CD Two Thumbs Up which features the Alto kalimba on almost every song, and the Alto Fundamentals Book. This alto package deal is a $152 value for just $132!


What's Happening with the Kalimba Magic Tips of the Day

Monday Tips (Mind-Body-Spirit): The current series studies the idea of perfection in light of playing the kalimba.

Tuesday Tips (Elementary): The current series teaches how to read rhythms in kalimba tablature. This series started out at a very basic level and has progressed over the last six months to the more complicated two-handed rhythms. When the rhythm series draws to a close, we will begin a series of elementary tips that deal with harmonic issues for people with little or no experience with music.

Wednesday Tips (Advanced): We just completed a series teaching the Mark Holdaway song First Look Inside (a YouTube hit!) one phrase at a time. You can still catch it by going to the Wednesday Tips Archives. The Wednesday series that just began this past week (April 8), will teach another Mark Holdaway song "I'm Leaving Tomorrow."

Thursday Tips (Featured kalimba): This series is currently covering the scales on the HT HotShot-11.


Did you Purchase the Sweetheart Deal? Tell us about it!

The March Special

Before Valentine's Day this year, Kalimba Magic offered a tremendous deal for people who wanted to purchase an Alto and a Treble kalimba: one for themselves and one for their sweetheart. We are curious to hear any stories about how this worked out as a Valentine's gift. If you have a fun (or funny) story about how the Sweetheart Deal went down for you and your love, please let us know!

One person who got the Sweetheart Deal made this wonderful graphic, and I promised them I would link to their site. But I misplaced their email. Apologies! Please send me your link again, and we'll post it right away.


Story Tellers: Do You Use the Kalimba in Story Telling?

We put out a call last month for story tellers who use the kalimba to help tell their stories. We heard from a few of you, but we'd love to hear from more! We're preparing an article on story tellers, which will appear in an upcoming newsletter. If you use the kalimba to help tell stories, please contact us and tell us about yourself!


Shamans: Do You Use the Kalimba in Shamanic Work?

Also in an upcoming newsletter we will be including an article on using kalimbas in shamanic work. We've sold about two dozen kalimbas or sansulas to people who are doing shamanic work, and we would love to hear their stories! If you use kalimbas or sansulas in your shamanic work, please email us and tell us how you use the kalimba in this work.


20% Off Everything in the Kalimba Magic Shop
Coupon Good through April 30, 2009

Some of you folks are getting money back from the government this year... unlike myself, who will be paying the government due to a small oopsie on my part. To commemorate how much fun this has been for me, the Kalimba Magic Shop is offering the OOPSIE special: just use the coupon code OOPSIE when you check out to get 20% off for any Kalimba Magic purchases through April 30.


The 11-Note Kalimba in Persian Hitzazkiar Tuning

The HT HotShot-11 in Hitzazakiar Tuning.
A friend recently called me up and said that she wanted to take a kalimba to Iran, but didn't want a standard western scale. So I fixed up an HT HotShot-11 in the Hitzazkiar scale - an ancient Persian scale. This is a great scale for playing Middle Eastern music, and I am really excited about how this tuning sounds on this kalimba!

The Hitziazkiar tuning is really pretty interesting. The 1-3-5-7 (i.e., the left side notes G-B-D-F#) sound just like the western scale, but the 2-4-6-8 (i.e., the right side notes Ab-C-Eb-G) are all one half step above the 1-3-5-7 notes, which mirrors them in an interesting way. So, the scale uses a major 3rd and 7th, but minor 2nd (VERY Middle-Eastern-sounding) and minor 6th.

Hitzazkiar tuning
Hitzazkiar tuning for the HT HtShot-11.

It is sort of an oddity - I love tuning kalimbas into a Middle Eastern scale - but there is a company in Pakistan called Mid-East Mfg which makes a poor knockoff of the Hugh Tracey Treble kalimba. It costs about 1/3 the price of the Hugh Tracey Treble, and it is approximately 1/3 the quality. So it is true in this case: you get what you pay for. Retailers who sell the Mid-East Mfg Treble knockoff (also known as the "Large Kalimba", though it is the exact same size as the Hugh Tracey Treble and much smaller than the Hugh Tracey Alto) tend to hide the fact that it is made in Pakistan and not Africa. Ebay sellers who sell this one call it an "African Kalimba"—kind of like North Dakotans making "Mexican Tacos" in Fargo.

Testimonial from New Customer Chuck Elliott

What a great little instrument!

I just got my Alto Kalimba from the post office today. What a great little instrument! I ordered it thinking it would just be a great little fill sound for some of my acoustic recordings. Soon after I went to the post office, I found myself sitting in the drive through and got the Kalimba out. Immediately I was playing along to songs on the radio! I wish they would have taken all day to get me my order at the drive through! I was having so much fun! After that, I went back to the house and worked up a couple of melodies for some songs I have been working on and recorded them with a condenser mic. This Kalimba sounds good! Later on, as I put my one year old to bed, I couldn't help but play her an improvised lullaby. Yep, worked like a charm! Back in the studio I wanted to make sure it was tuned right for another song, so I got the tuner out and it was perfect. I also noticed a small piece of paper under one of the tines. I knew then that you had not only tuned this Kalimba for me, but that you had also fixed a buzz that it had from the factory! That says a lot about the kind of business that you run Mark! Thanks for making the U.S. aware of this great instrument. I have been bitten by the bug now, and hope I still find time for my guitars!—Chuck Elliott


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