Zimbabwe: recent publications

Keeping Calm With the Kalimba in a World of Chaos

Do you like the sound of music boxes? Then you will love the sound of the kalimba. I had never heard of a kalimba until just recently. It is also commonly called a thumb piano, originating in Zimbabwe and part of the mbria family of instruments. It is growing in popularity because of the many YouTube tutorials available, covering popular songs from all generations.

A kalimba is a small wood base with metal tines arranged on the top. The most common model  has 17 keys or tines, but they even have models with eight and 21 keys. They can be hollow or solid or acrylic. Hollow will give you a louder sound than solid. You play it by holding it in your hands and using your thumbnails to hit the keys. There are many models available on Amazon and they are a relatively inexpensive instrument, even less expensive than a ukulele. And they are very portable! You can carry it with you anywhere. This is the model I decided to buy. It is just 5 x 7 in size!

I decided to buy a kalimba to first help my thumb area pain. I thought it would be good therapy for my hand and it is, as long as I don’t play for too long. I also wanted something I could take with me to medical appointments. I envisioned playing during my seemingly endless waiting times. I also play the ukulele, but it’s just a little too large for me to bring to appointments.

I wasn’t expecting the kalimba to have such an impact on my anxiety level. As I listen to the notes ring out, my breathing is regulated, and all the problems of the world seem to drift away. There is so much chaos in today’s world, especially with the ongoing pandemic. Playing my kalimba gives me a much-needed break from news and current events and it’s just me and the sounds. And it is such a soothing

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