Musical Instruments

Some Interesting Facts About Kalimba (Thumb Piano)

Global Music

Thumb piano or Mbira or Kalimba are all the same thing. It is an ancient instrument originated in Africa. It was commercially produced and exported by Hugh Tracey. kalimba is the most recent name given to traditional lamellophones. ‘Lamella’ is the Latin word for ‘plate’ and ‘Phone’ is the Greek word for ‘sound’. There are approximately 100 different kinds of traditional African lamellophones with distinct tuning, note layout, and name. More than fifty years back, nobody outside Africa knew much about this one or played it before. Today, it is being used by many famous musicians all over the world. Global Music, an online musical instrument store in the Philippines is selling Kalimba to a large number of customers as it is in huge demand.

Let us focus on some interesting facts about Kalimba

This instrument is around 1300 to 3000 years old, previously known as Mbira. It is believed to have been independently invented in two different places and times in Africa. According to a study of xylophone and kalimba music, it was invented as a portable xylophone. It has a tuning and note layout that is more than 500 years old.

It is a national instrument of Zimbabwe. The Shona people of Zimbabwe believed that God gave the mbira to humans to attract the spirit of their ancestors. That is why, in the bira ceremony, mbira players play the favourite songs of the deceased person to entice their spirit to return for some time and visit the beloved. However, they believed that the spirit will only visit if the mbira playing is beautiful or skillful.

Hugh Tracey was influenced a lot by mbira. Therefore, he started building his own kalimbas in the late 1950s using the western ‘Do Re Mi’ scale. In the 1960s, his sons Andrew and Paul wrote a musical review called ‘Wait A Minim’ that ultimately became popular around the world.

However, the original story of the kalimba is still unknown. There are many different stories associated with kalimba and it is difficult to come to a conclusion. Although, Dr. Hugh Tracey left us a nook of stories that he collected on his travels across Africa. Do give it a read to find some more interesting facts. Do not forget to explore this world-famous instrument and try your hands on it. Buy the best quality Kalimba from Global Music at the best available price in the Philippines.

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