Kalimbas & Mbiras

Kalimbas are musical instruments which were originally exclusively created and played in Africa. Today kalimbas can be heard all over the world. These hand-sized instruments have numerous advantages: they are easy to play, have an original and delicate sound and can be produced in various tunings. Kalimbas offered by DAN MOI are manufactured with high quality, tuned very neatly and are also suitable as musical instruments in bands or ensembles.

DAN MOI sells kalimbas of the Hugh Tracey series. They have eleven or more keys which range over several octaves. High-quality Mbiras from Gonamombe are completely new in our assortment. They score with their exclusive materials and their masterly workmanship. With their 15 or 24 lamellae and the integrated rattle effects, they are unbelievably versatile. They whet the appetite for pacy improvisations and hamonious melodies.

The word ‘kalimba’ in Bantu languages means “little music”. But ‘kalimba’ is just a generic term for a whole family of instruments which are also called lamellophones. A lamellophone like the kalimba consists of a series of thin metal plates or “tongues”/tines which are fixed to a box or a wooden block serving as the resonating body or sound box.
Kalimbas have a long tradition. There are a lot of different styles of these instruments in Eastern and Central Africa. Their names are as numerous as their designs and tunings: They are called mbira in Zimbabwe, kalimba in Malawi, likembe in Central Africa, nsansi, malimba, uimba or ringa in Mozambique, kadongo in Uganda, timbrh in Cameroon, lulimba or ulimba in Tanzania. In African countries people dance and sing to the sound of kalimbas. The rhythm is played by rattles and other percussion instruments. Kalimbas are also used in ensembles where two or more kalimbas are played together.

The kalimba has become a world musical instrument for quite some time. It is used worldwide in Jazz, by bands playing world music, by singer-songwriters, but also as a solo instrument. One thing is certain: the possibilities of playing a kalimba are not totally exhausted yet. There are even some famous kalimba players outside of Africa by now. All of them recorded albums/CDs and should be serving as creative directors for kalimba novices. Some may be mentioned here: Kevin Spears, Samité, Laura Barrett und Peck Allmond.

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