New Kalimba Library – Kev’s Samples Kalimba

  • By: Thorsten Meyer
  • Date: Monday, 16 December 2019
  • Time to read: 2 min.

Kev’s Samples Kalimba – a Kalimba with 4 unique tones

The Kalimba is an instrument that was created originally in the Caribbean during the 20th century. Though its lineage dates back for centuries in some African countries (particularly modern-day Zimbabwe) in the form of the Mbira. Like the Mbira, it is typically played with the thumbs.

The unique feature of this particular Kalimba is that we sampled every note in two different positions. One has the player’s thumb and fingers covering the holes on the top and bottom of the instrument, and one with them open. In a live setting, the covering and uncovering of these holes create an interesting “wah-wah” or “vibrato” effect. This effect can be simulated with Kev’s Kalimba by using the mod wheel to fade between the covered and open positions. This is far more flexible than a static sampled vibrato, but unlike a fake filtered vibrato, it sounds completely realistic.

Kev’s Kalimba was sampled in a dry room with two microphone positions: One above the Kalimba and one below. Together with the open and closed finger positions, you effectively have 4 unique tones to work with or blend as you see fit. The instrument was tuned diatonically to a C major scale, but transposed chromatic samples are provided. Every note was sampled in a 4x round-robin, for both the covered and open finger positions. Additionally, there are 4 round robin release samples for each note, which allow for a more realistic finger dampening sound while the sustain pedal is off.

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