Stories and Legends about the Kalimba in Different World Cultures

Visit Kalimbaalso known as mbira, sanza, kalimba, marímba, thumb piano or likembe, is a percussion and reed instrument found in many cultures and traditions around the world. Its ancestral custom of playing soft, melancholy melodies has given rise to stories and legends about the kalimba that have been passed down from generation to generation.

This instrument is considered sacred by many cultures, and is now recognized as a highly prized instrument worldwide. Legends linked to this percussion instrument have been handed down by the peoples who used it. These stories provide fascinating insights into how different cultures around the world view the kalimba.

African stories

The kalimba is deeply rooted in African culture. Legends abound throughout Africa concerning its creation and use. Some of the most common recount that one of the ancient gods gave the kalimba to the African people so that tribes could communicate with each other through music, enabling stories and legends to be preserved. Another legend states that a number of kalimbas were placed on seven mountains scattered across the African continent, and that their music unites all the tribes and prevents the continent from descending into chaos.

Asian mysteries

The kalimba is also very popular in Southeast Asia. It is said that when the ancient Chinese kingdom of Qin was established, the emperor described the kalimba as the eighth treasure of the seven wonders of the world at the time. Other Chinese legends say that a single kalimba musician can appease the spirits that haunt the ruins of ancient temples.

Polynesian traditions

In Polynesian mythology, the kalimba plays a key role. Ancient Polynesian legends say that the music of the kalimba can make contact with spiritual souls, and act as a bridge between the real and invisible worlds. Some Polynesian islanders even claim to have heard invisible choirs accompanying the melodies played on the kalimba.

Native American legends

Stories and legends associated with the kalimba are widespread among Amerindian tribes, who have been playing the instrument for centuries. Legend has it that the kalimba represents the trunk of a sacred tree that has been filled with the voices of ancestors. The music emanating from it is said to bring together the spirits of heaven and earth, enabling peace and harmony on Earth.

Not just a story

While these legends and stories are moving and full of mystery, the real significance conveyed by the kalimba is its ability to cross cultures and generations. Today, this small instrument has become popular and is used by many musicians to create unique and captivating melodies that are capable of touching the hearts and souls of all who hear them.

The kalimba is a treasure that everyone can make their own, while being aware of the unique beliefs it continues to represent for thousands of years.