The kalimba, or thumb piano, is a fascinating African musical instrument with a storied history that dates back thousands of years. According to native folklore, the kalimba’s magical sound was so enchanting, it was believed to project up into the heavens and invite the spirits down to earth. One of its earliest uses was by traveling African poets who would play the kalimba while entertaining villagers with songs, stories and dances. Even today, modern musicians still enjoy traveling and entertaining crowds with the kalimba.
Like the kalimbas of old, many of the styles we carry are made from actual gourds or hardwood and feature carved tribal art patterns. The kalimba is usually held in both hands, playing keys with both thumbs like a piano at the same time or separately to create soothing melodies or more complex arrangements. Fun and easy to play, the thumb piano is one of those instruments that is appreciated as much for its unique looks as its beautiful sound properties.