I’m very lucky to have family and friends support my challenge, suggesting new things here and there that I wouldn’t have thought of. Sometimes, however, somebody suggests something that I’ve never even heard of.
The kalimba, sometimes called a thumb piano, is an African instrument consisting of a wooden block with steel keys on the top. It looks a little like a tiny xylophone and sounds a little similar too.
The sound reminds me a little of the jingle before a train announcement, and that amused me for a good while. After that, I attempted to learn a song. The keys have notes on, so I tried to follow a beginner’s piano guide to My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion to see what would happen. Some of the notes worked, and some I had to work around, but it sounded pretty good to me. As an experiment, I didn’t tell my husband what I was playing and asked him to guess. I could hear the song so clearly, but it sounded like Three Blind Mice to him – he’s the musical one! Once I gave him my best and heartiest Celine Dion impression as I played along, he soon figured it out.
I loved noodling around with the kalimba. It’s very easy to play, just requiring a quick press of the key with a nail or thumb tip, and has a lovely gentle sound. As ever, I’m always grateful for people’s suggestions – I would never have discovered this amazing instrument without them!