The story

As a classically trained musician and technologist, I have somewhat mixed feelings about sampling. That being said, I agree that it certainly opens up creative opportunities for those who may not have any formal musical instrument training and from my own point of view, it allows me to perform on instruments that I certainly would not be able to play without a great deal of time back in the practice room.

To that end, I have taken baby steps into the world of sampling and thanks to Christian and the many people supporting this forum, I have decided to share my first efforts. I have created three virtual instruments, the second of which is a kalimba.

Kalimbas come in many forms, but for my Christmas a couple of years ago, my daughter bought my a pretty high end specimen: a HOKEMA Sansula Deluxe. I grew up in Scotland, but now live in the USA. My daughter is named after an island off the west coast of Scotland, hence the name of the instrument: The Ailsa-Kalimba.

The kalimba, according to wikipedia, is also known as an Mbira which is an African instrument originating from Zimbabwe. Although the Ailsa-Kalimba is sampled from a highly engineered German instrument, the original tends to be somewhat more rustic and enjoyable detuned.

Being as fairly simple instrument to perform on, there is one other reason for my attachment to the kalimba: the instrument is traditionally associated with the Shona People and Shona happens to be the name of my lifelong partner, friend and wife, which also happens to be a traditional Scottish name.

I hope you enjoy the Ailsa-Kalimba, I would certainly appreciate feedback into my ‘baby steps’


Paul… 🙂

Reviews for Ailsa-Kalimba

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Beautiful sansula

    A simple, but beautiful pack. The sounds are magical and sweet, well recorded. The number of controls is adequate and allows for varied results.

    I really like the GUI. The monochromatic background image gives it an elegant and sober look, plus it matches very well with the color of the controls.

    GuilleDSamplist 29 September 2022
  • Simple but very effective!

    For a first attempt in sampling, this is amazing! There is no noise at all and the quality is pretty dang good! I like the fact that the sustain and release work really well with no problems. Since the GUI is just a photo, there are no extra options to play around, so it's pretty much a good old kalimba. Also, the nice information about the instrument in the description is a very nice thouch. I'll make sure to check out more of this artist's instruments in the future!

    Alex Raptakis27 October 2021
  • Different tones in different samples

    i dont know if its just me but i kind of feeling like im getting different tones with different samples or that i like some samples more than others. Maybe its the thumb noise on the kalimba that i really like that maybe isn't as present in all the samples. this sound really clear and is recorded very well but i prefer the warmer more resonant kalimbas to these brighter shorter ones. This is still a pretty great instrument but there are a few kalimbas on pianobook i prefer over this one.

    septemberwalk14 November 2021
  • A lovely celeste kalimba

    It's hard to find samples of celeste kalimbas i.e. those without resonator boxes so I was delighted to see this one. The sound quality is quite good, as is noise reduction. This is certainly a great first attempt at a sample library! On the downside, the mic was placed in a position that captured a lot of harmonics in the 3-4k range in the lower register. This can be tamed somewhat with EQ, though, so it might not be a deal breaker for everyone.

    Sam EcoffSamplist 17 October 2021