Kalimba is a respectfully borrowed term referring in a general sense to a broad array of instruments that have Keys secured to a bridge where the unanchored end is plucked with thumbs and fingers. This general use of the term became Global with Hugh Tracey from his "Kalimba Factory" in South Africa sending his instruments to music stores worldwide. The KALIMBA originates as a specific instrument from the regions of Malawi and Zambia and designates as a small fan shaped sound board or small box with or without mirliton ( attached Buzzer affect). These original small instruments have between 7 and 9 Keys.

A generic term for any of these types of instruments which I make use of is


An African person holding a musical instrument in the grass, playing Ngoma - traditional African music.
A person is holding a red Ngoma, an African musical instrument.

Box Kalimba Lamellophone

Painted Acrylic Burned Design with Goat Skin and Glass Beads

A wooden box is an excellent resonating body to express the voice of the Kalimba mechanism.

All Crossroads Lamellophone are made with Hand Forged Spring Steel Keys

A person is playing an African xylophone known as a Ngoma, producing captivating traditional melodies.

Peruvian Walnut, Spanish Cedar Box; Purple Heart Wood Bridge

Small Wooden Box Kalimba

Crossroads Wooden Box Kalimba from very small to much larger.

From very small to much larger...

Painted Design Kalimba

See images below of this special Kalimba with Burned and Painted Design celebrating Zebra; Wenge' Wood Soundboard; Goat Skin and Glass Beads Head Piece.

A person holding a Ngoma, a wooden accordion used in African music, with blue and silver tines.

Zebra Design Kalimba

A man is holding up an African Music instrument called Ngoma.

Painted Design Small Box Kalimba

Another example of Crossroads Painted Box Kalimba, see below...

Photo Gallery

Crossroads Large Box Kalimba Demo

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A few more Painted Crossroads Box Kalimba Lamellophone examples...

A man holding up a Ngoma in front of a house.

Cigar Box Kalimba

Cigar Boxes come in a wide variety of types of wood and sizes; many are a thin veneered plywood which produces a certain ghostly musical voice.

Cigar Box Kalimba come in many forms and accommodate a certain character of Spirit

Gourd Kalimba

Using Gourds as the resonating body for Kalimba/Lamellophone and other Musical Instruments is an excellent choice. The great gift of Gourds comes in a tremendous variety of sizes and shapes. Lagenaria siceraria is the botanical genus that refers to Gourd species that are favored for making Musical Instruments and other sculpture and utensils. The "Lagenaria" gourds have a honey comb structure in the outer shell that gives great strength making them ideal vessels for human innovation.

A group of pumpkins sitting on the ground, surrounded by the vibrant sounds of Ngoma music.

Kalimba to be.......

Gourd Kalimba Photo Gallery

A person is holding a Ngoma, a wooden instrument used in African music, with spoons in it.


I coined the term "Tinlimba" to refer to Lamellophone I make using cookie and other tins as the resonating body. I discovered that many contemporary cookie tins have relatively thin bottoms and in order to get a good sound it's necessary to adhere a thin piece of wood or plywood. Tinlimba have a unique wonderfully haunting sound.

Tinlimba Images

Can! Tinlimba Can!

This video can give some example of the kind of sound produced by Tinlimba.

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