Chapter 19: Colimba – building a lofi kalimba instrument in Ableton Live

This is about how we built the Lofi Kalimba and the creative process behind the single Colimba. Follow us on Spotify to unlock a free download of the Lofi Kalimba & SP404 EFX Simulator DIY pack for Ableton Live 10/11 here:

Building the instrument

The western kalimba we usually know is a simple, easy to play diatonic instrument. It has a cosy, innocent sound that connects instantly. We have rebuilt the kalimba in an Ableton Live sampler to add our electronic arsenal of Lofi EFX by using our SP404 EFX Simulator. We wanted to automize, chop, pitch, bend, delay and filter the kalimba to its extends and control the kalimba sound by ADSR functions. Out came the very chilled single Colimba (May 04, 2021) and the Ableton Live instrument we call Rocolimba. (

The origins of the Kalimba are rooted in the African Culture.„Mbira (the name of both the instrument and the music) is mystical music that has been played for over a thousand years by certain tribes of the Shona people, a group that forms the vast majority of the population of Zimbabwe, and extends into Mozambique. The most important function of mbira is as a “telephone to the spirits”, used to contact both deceased ancestors and even more ancient tribal guardians, at all-night bira (pl. mapira) ceremonies“. (

Listening to the original polyphonic and polyrhythmic mbira we felt delighted to hear how the ancient healing vibes are also shining in the context of our music of lofi hiphop drums, pianos, guitars and heavy electronic lofi processing.

Get a taste of the mbira vibe here:

Check our single Colimba here:


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