Introduction to Kamalengoni
I made this page to help those who are interested by the Kamalengoni learn some basic information on how to play.
The kamalengoni is an instrument that takes many years of practice. I can’t technically say that I know how to play the Kamalengoni since many different ways to play exist. But what I can do is give you some information and share some key points.
The tuning doesn’t necessitate one scale in particular, however the principal scale used by Abou is the scale of E. The notes in this scale are :
E / F# / A / B / D.
For some songs Abou changes the F # to G and for other songs he uses the following scale:
E / F# / G# / B / C#.
As long as the number of steps between the notes stays the same the key can be changed. For example, D-tuning:
D / E / G / A / C.
Now you can find the key that you like best. The following videos are in E.
Strumming poses the most difficulties for new players. The strings are always open and so any changes in the vibration are made by touching the string. Either the string is left open to vibrate, or sometimes, but quite rarely, the string is muted with the palm to stop the sound mid-vibration. Another method is to play the string whilst muting, which also makes a sound. Lastly, the strings can be played together.
In the following exercises I present the strings without any effects. In this way, you can become familiarized with the pieces. If you would like to go further you can seek information from someone who has mastered the instrument.
All of these songs have been taught to me by Abou Diarra. Some have been composed by Abou himself and other have been taught to him by other persons.
I use a kamalengoni with 8 strings and I number them from the lowest to the highest.