cannonball gourd thumb pianoby Paul and Sue Bergstrom $40.00
- the story
This petite instrument carries with it thousands of years of African musical tradition. Called a kalimba, mbira, mbila, or marímbula depending on the region in which it's played, the first version of this handheld thumb piano originated in Africa over 3,000 years ago! Lightweight and portable, the thumb piano was the chosen instrument of traveling troubadours, who would retell the history of their tribe in song.
Whether you use it to strike up your own story or to teach little ones about music, Paul and Sue Bergstrom's handcrafted thumb piano is the ideal instrument to carry a tune. Atop a beautiful, hollowed-out gourd are 8 numbered tines that correspond with traditional notes on the diatonic scale. The tines, or keys, are made of tempered spring steel that is hand-cut and rounded. To play, simply cradle the gourd in your hands and pluck the tines with your thumbs. Handmade in Blairsville, Georgia.
Includes easy-to-follow songbook filled with traditional melodies like "You are my sunshine," "Kumbaya," and "Happy Birthday."
Please note, the video is meant to demonstrate how to play a thumb piano, but it showcases our Cedar Thumb Pianos.
- Item ID
- Made from
- gourd, acrylic paint, nickel plated steel, baltic birch wood, steel stamped metal
- 5" Diameter
- Wipe with soft cloth as needed
- the maker
Paul and Sue Bergstrom
Paul and Sue live in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia,at the foot of Cooks Mountain. When not building or designing something that makes sweet sounds Paul can be found with a good book and Sue in her "Happy Place" creating necklaces and earrings from the leftover pieces of gourds and coconuts used in their musical instruments.
Their mission began in 2005 when Paul retired after thirty years in the medical industry. Relocation from the busy Atlanta area to the mountains brought back an exciting creative drive, which had been held captive while raising a family. Music was not initially in the picture as Paul cannot sing very well and Sue just enjoyed the radio. But a fateful trip to the Pension Mountain range and a chance meeting with Glenda Allison of Berryville, Arkansas brought both Paul and Sue to their mission of music making. Kalimbas, or Thumb Pianos, became their obsession along with teaching young and old alike the simple joys of making music.
When not building or designing something that makes sweet sounds Paul can be found with a good book and Sue in her "Happy Place" creating necklaces and earrings from the leftover pieces of gourds and coconuts used in their musical instruments. collection
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