half shell gourd thumb piano

by Paul and Sue Bergstrom $40.00
Handmade
Community Voted

Because real gourds are used to make this product, each one may vary slightly in size.

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  • the story

Tunes to Go

This 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 half gourd in your hands and pluck the tines with your thumbs. The wrist strap is useful for keeping the gourd close by, or for displaying the beautiful instrument on the wall when you're not using it. Handmade in Blairsville, Georgia.

Includes easy-to-follow songbook filled with traditional melodies like "You are my sunshine," "Kumbaya," and "Happy Birthday."

Unfortunately, this item cannot ship outside of the United States at this time.

  • details
Handmade
Community Voted
Item ID
24981
Made from
gourd, birch wood, steel
Measurements
8" L x 6" W x 5" D
Notes
Wipe with soft cloth as needed.
  • the maker
Paul and Sue Bergstrom

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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