Friday, March 20, 2009

For something completely different…

This is a karimba, a type of lamellophone or thumb piano. You hold the instrument in your hands and pluck the metal tines with your thumbs, which creates beautiful bell-like tones.

And here is another type of lamellophone, a kalimba. Both of these are smaller versions of the mbira, an ancient instrument from Africa, mainly from the region around Zimbabwe.

I got the kalimba last fall after hearing mbira and kalimba played in concert (by Kevin Nathaniel, along with Tomas Rodriguez and Hasan Bakr), and the karimba this winter. Playing is mesmerizing, like a meditation. In the future, I plan to post short music clips so you can hear what they sound like. In the meantime, here’s a wonderful piece played on karimba by Teodor Doroba (YouTube).


Katie said...

Fascinating! I'd never heard of a kalimba, so thank you for sharing photos of this beautiful instrument, as well as the link to the clip so I could hear it being played. It really is bell-like! Yesterday I watched a girl of about 14 hold a cellphone device with keyboard just like the guy in the video, and her thumbs moved the same way too, but I think I'd rather listen to the kalimba being played than read the silly message that girl typed.

Ms M said...

That's funny about the cell phone. I hadn't thought about it being "played" by the thumbs :>)
Glad you enjoyed the clip; I found it on YouTube and thought he played beautifully.