Kiva Lending Team: Kalimba
Origin of Kalimba
The kalimba, of the lamellophone family, is a musical instrument originating from Africa. Its appearance is very old, it seems to date from 1000 BC It would be models with bamboo blades.
The names most commonly given to him are: sanza, likembe, thumb piano. The cradle of the kalimba is mainly central and southern Africa but it is also seen in the south of the continent. It is also found in South America and the Caribbean where slaves imported it (see marimbula from Cuba).
The kalimba, likembe in this case, served as a base for Zairian rumba during the 1950s. See Antoine Moundanda, Papa Kourand and more recently the Makouaya brothers. *
In Zimbabwe, the traditional M'bira is a mystical trance instrument used to connect with the lost ancestors (see Shona Music *).
It is also the instrument of night watchmen and storytellers, also used for walking from villages to villages.
It is said in Bantu mythology that God created minerals, plants, and animals, playing sanza and that all living beings lived together in perfect harmony. Then, one fine day, his instrument having unfortunately detuned, when he played, then springs a false note which gave birth to the man.
Man multiplied and perpetuated the disharmony that was at its origin. Perhaps, it seems, we have to restore harmony in this tormented world and the kalimba can help us! ...
source: Saïdou Abatcha *, storyteller and humorist of Cameroonian origin.
There is an instrument little known to the general public, whose practice is easy and produces a sound with something magical and sweet that we wanted to talk about in this article.
This is the Kalimba : an instrument that everyone will love!
Origin and History:
The Kalimba is a native instrument of sub-Saharan Africa. Like the xylophone, the glockenspiel and the vibraphone, this instrument belongs to the family of idiophones (these are the instruments whose sound is produced by the very material of the instruments in question).
Originally used in traditional music, Kalimba had bamboo slats that were later replaced by metal slats .
Like many African instruments, kalimba can bear several names: Mbira , Sanza , thumb piano etc.
Description and Use:
The body of this instrument can be a coconut, a wooden board or a wooden sound box.
The sounds are produced by the vibration of blades each cut to a precise length thus producing a determined note and that there can be counted from 5 up to more than 20 depending on the models.
The use of this instrument is very simple: we take the body in the palm of the hand and we just vibrate the slats with thumbs.
Today, we find this instrument in very different registers. In addition to being used in " world music ", he is present in music therapy and musical awakening .
Its particular sound makes it also very used in the current music.
Brands and prices:
For the most famous brands we will find:
1- Hokema (between 35 euros and about 200 euros)
→ certainly in the best sounds of the market (crystalline and precise sound) and original models (slats mounted on stretched skin ...)
2- Meinl (between 30 euros and 150 euros approximately)
→ a sound a little more dull than the Hokema but a very good price / quality ratio
→ a very traditional sound so very mate, but very affordable prices
Choose your Kalimba:
The choice of a Kalimba will be according to your needs (traditional music, current music, musical awakening or music therapy)
To choose your Kalimba, it will also try, because even a novice will notice the difference in sound more or less crystalline and more or less raw.
Rely on your ear and choose which sound you prefer or which you will need (for music therapy for example, you will need a pure and precise sound)
There are enough models today to find the one that suits you best.
You are welcome, if you can, to visit us in store: we will be happy to answer you and find you the ideal model corresponding to what you are looking for.
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