The 15-note Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba has long been our best seller. It is simple to comprehend, with exactly two octaves, usually in the key of G, with a strictly-alternating Right-Left note layout. This is the canonical form of the kalimba. If you want to play folk, pop, rock, classical, Christmas music, hymns, African American spirituals, and even traditional African music, this kalimba type is your best bet.
Electronic pickup with quarter-inch jack is built-in, so that you can easily plug into an amplifier or sound system.
Tine colors may vary depending on what our supplier has available (blue, red, green, white or unpainted).
Our store owner David Eisner chose Hugh Tracey Kalimbas as one of his Staff Picks! He says: "One of my favorite instruments in the shop are The Hugh Tracey Kalimbas (either Alto or Treble). They fill the needs from 1) "My friend is not that musical but I would like to encourage them to play something" to 2) "I have been incorporating different sounds and textures into my music and this opens up new possibilities." The upcharge for the models with onboard pickup is minimal, so I suggest getting one that plugs in. Normally, you play the instrument with your thumbs - but when amplified, it becomes very resonant when you use a medium pick and strum it like a harp. The late Dr. Hugh Tracey was a celebrated, lettered South African ethnomusicology professor. He stood in opposition of his government’s apartheid policy and employed Bantu tribesmen to produce the instruments. His sons, Andrew and Paul, keep the business going in the present day. Two models: the 15 note Alto in G and the 17 note Treble in G come with electronics. Both instruments hold their tunings well and can be tuned other keys.