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Various kinds of thumb pianos have existed in Africa for thousands of years. The tines were originally made of bamboo, but over the years metal keys have been developed. These instruments are known by many names in different regions of Africa, including Mbrira Huru, Likembe and Okeme, and well as Marimbula in the Caribbean Islands. The Kalimba was typically played by walking travelers who kept the history of their tribe or village and would entertain people with songs, stories, poems and dances. One of it indigenous names can be translated to, "The thing that makes walking easier". It was thought in ancient times that the Kalimba was able to project its sounds into the Heavens and could draw down spirits to earth.
We feature Kalimbas handcrafted by Rick Faist. Rick has been producing Kalimbas for over 20 years. He grows the gourds used as the base for each Kalimba, cuts the keys from sheet metal, crafts the hardwood tops and tunes them precisely by hand. Rick produces Klaimbas with a wide variety of sound hole designs and in an array of musical scales.