Watch a performance of this Kalimba (Deze sold separately).
Nhemamusasa on Mbira and Kalimba with Joel Laviolette and Rakefet Avramovó±tz
In addition to mbiras, X8 Drums now offers a very special version of the Zimbabwean Kalimba. Like the mbira here, this kalimba was made by Joel's instructor in Zimbabwe, Newton Gwara. A new design, this kalimba is built in tune with the regular high-tuned mbiras.
A traditional instrument of the Shona people in Zimbabwe, kalimbas usually have only 15 keys, so they don't have the full seven-note scale of a regular mbira and are missing a couple of the major chord tones you need to play a lot of the traditional repertoire of mbira music. However, Joel and his instructor designed and built the kalimba featured in the video and sold by X8 Drums so that they could add in those extra chord tones. They call it the "Dandaranyika" kalimba, which in the Shona language translates to "the kalimba that can be played all over the world."
With this innovative kalimba, you can play the repertoire of the regular kalimba as well as the repertoire of the bigger mbiras. Like mbiras, all kalimbas, including the ones at X8 Drums, are hand built. The steel rod keys are pounded and filed by hand while the soundboard is made from beautiful Mukwa wood, the original wood used to make traditional kalimbas. The kalimba featured in the video is mounted inside of a deze, which acts as an amplifier. The kalimba is mounted in by three screws so that players can easily take the kalimba out if they want.
Joel talks about the features of this Kalimba
All of our kalimbas at X8 Drums have buzzers (the bottlecaps) on the soundboard to create that distinctive buzzing sound.