Kalimba's History and Origins:
Kalimbas are a type of musical instrument that originated from Africa. They have been around for thousands of years (previously known as Mbira) and were used to accompany tribal dances. It is also an integral part of many African countries' cultural heritage.
In the 1950s-1960s, musician Hugh Tracey came to Africa and was fascinated by this instrument. He started the redesign process and later introduced the first kalimba to the western world, which was easy to play and adapted to the modern musical scales. The name Kalimba is derived from the dialects Bantu and Sub-Saharan, which translates as "little music." The kalimba designed by Hugh Tracey became the prototype of modern kalimbas, which produce harmonies sounds and melodies.
How to Play Kalimbas:
A kalimba is usually played by holding the instrument in one hand and plucking the keys with the other hand. There are many different types of Kalimbas, but they all follow the same basic design with variations in how they are played and tuned depending on the area from which they originated.
Due to the unique kalimba note layout mentioned above, notes alternate between left and right roots, giving you an easy way to play chords. Kalimba tabs are a simple and handy tool to help you learn new songs on your Kalimba. The Kalimba tablature looks like a drawing of the Kalimba. Starting from the bottom, you can play the notes on the standard kalimba tab to work your way up on the page so that you can follow the notes on the tab you recognize in the song.
Kalimba Sounds and Benefits:
The sound of a kalimba is generally described as a mix of a harp, a vibraphone, and an African ‘mbira. One of the reasons why kalimba can be relaxing is that it has no sharp edges or attachments to bump into (like on piano keys). The strings also make no noise when they are plucked - instead, they vibrate and produce a soothing sound. Perfect for people who want to relax and dive themselves into music, which is suitable as a companion for yoga and meditation exercises as well.
Not only does it provide a soothing sound, but it also has been shown to improve people's moods and creativity over time. Just as learning anything else, it takes time to master playing kalimba, but the process is fun and rewarding!