Free African Kalimba VST Plugin : Sim-Mbira

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Lovers of authentic African Kalimba sounds will be delighted! Quilcom offers us a plethora of plugins derived from African percussions like this one : Sim-Mbira

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First, what is a Kalimba instrument?

Very trendy at the moment in the Afrobeats hits, Pop and put in the mainstream first by musicians such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Kalimba or Mbira is an idiophone musical instrument from sub-Saharan Africa. More precisely, it is a lamellophone, like the xylophone, composed of a wooden support on which are fixed metal strips of various shapes and sizes.

It has many names depending on the region and ethnic group, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo : likembe, mbila, mbira huru, mbira njari, mbira nyunga nyunga, nhare, matepeand njari, sansu, zanzu, karimba, marimba, karimba, kalimba, okeme, ubo, sanza, gyilgo.

The European settlers called it thumb piano or finger piano. It is close to the marimba of the Caribbean.

Generally small and portable, it is played by holding it in the hands, the raised thumbs vibrating the slats of different lengths and in variable number (from five to more than twenty), according to various scales. The body is often hollow, acting as a resonance box.

The low sound volume of the instrument makes it more suitable for intimate events, accompanying singing.

Easy to transport and use, and inexpensive, the instrument has gone beyond the sphere of traditional African music to be manufactured industrially (particularly in China) for a Western audience that perceives its soft sounds as conducive to the sound and musical awakening of young children.

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As most of these industrial models are tuned in C or F major, it is now possible to find dozens of scores and tablatures dedicated to this instrument in order to be able to interpret popular melodies.

Different types of idiophones and lamellaphones have been present in Africa for thousands of years. The lamellas were originally made of bamboo, then metal keys were developed.

The mbira appears to have been invented twice in Africa: a wooden or bamboo instrument appeared on the west coast about 3000 years ago, and metal lamellophones were developed in the Zambezi Valley about 1300 years ago .

These traveled across the continent, becoming popular among the Shonas of Zimbabwe (from whom the word Mbira is derived) and other ethnic groups in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The Mbira has differentiated itself from other instruments. The mbira differentiated in its physical form and social uses as it became more widespread.9 Kalimba-type instruments are also used to play the Mbira.

Kalimba-type instruments are found from North Africa to the southern reaches of the Kalahari Desert and from the east coast to the west coast, although many African ethnic groups ignore it in their instrumentarium.

In the mid-1950s, the mbira became the basis for the development of the kalimba, a westernized version designed and marketed by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey, which led to a considerable expansion of its distribution outside the original continent.

The art of making and playing the mbira/sanza, a traditional lamellophone in Malawi and Zimbabwe, was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in December 2010.

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Sim-Mbira by Quilcom : Free Kalimba VST

Created by Quilcom, Sim-Mbira is a free emulation of the Kalimba instrument from Africa.

Many features are integrated such as :

  • Room FX
  • Reverb FX

& Many more Surprises!

The only problem: It is only available for PC!

Download Sim Mbira : here

The good news is that we also offer a free Kalimba for PC and Mac : Afro Keyz

Download Afrokeyz Lite for free : here

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