Why Is The Sansula A Must Have For Sound Healers?Jun 14, 2023
The Sansula is a must-have instrument for anyone interested in sound healing, sound meditation, or any form of meditative music.
In this article, we explore what a Sansula is, how to play it, and why it is different from a kalimba.
The History Of The Sansula Instrument
The Sansula is a variation of the mbira, sansa or kalimba, a Southern African thumb piano that is one of the world’s oldest instruments. Essentially, the Sansula is a kalimba suspended on a drum head, which was designed by Peter Hokema.
Kalimbas are reed instruments that are plucked with the thumbs or fingers, in which the vibration of the metal tongue (tine) is amplified in various ways (e.g. on a resonance box, a hollow body like a calabash gourd or simply a piece of solid wood). In Africa, you can find them in many unique forms and designs.
With the Sansula, the vibration of the metal tongue (tine) is first "stored" in a block of wood, which then transmits vibrations to a sound membrane. In this way, the sound resonates for a longer period of time than other similar instruments. Supported by the tuning - octaves are next to each other - a wonderful, soft sound rich in overtones is created with ease.
One major difference between the Sansula vs kalimba is that the Sansula was designed on a frame drum so that the instrument may be amplified without the use of a separate gourd, or deze, as traditionally used in Zimbabwe with an mbira. When Peter invented the Sansula, it had 3 main properties:
- it was a 9-note kalimba with 4 of the tines bent upward into a second row
- the kalimba was mounted on the membrane of a small frame drum
- it was tuned to an Ake-Bono-like A minor scale
The name sansula derives from the name “sanza”, one of many names for traditional african thumb pianos. The “-ula” part of the name is a diminutive suffix, so “sansula” means “little sanza”.
Why Did We Chose To Feature The Sansula In Our Sound Therapy Shop
For those interested in purchasing their own Sansula, we have excellent news! We’ve just launched the Hokema Sansula Renaissance in A Minor Tuning at our Sound Therapy Shop!
“The Sansula is one of those must have, go to instruments! Its size makes it super convenient to take along with you wherever you go. It always accompanies me on sound baths and its become a frequent flyer on many airlines whilst also being a great partner when heading out on a hike. I just love this instrument and its versatility, and I highly recommend it.”
How To Play A Sansula
The Hokema Sansula Renaissance is a delight to play!
It is perhaps the most beautiful sounding kalimba, and with 9 notes, it is easy to begin playing right away…the challenge is to get sonic diversity through alternative tunings.
The Sansula can be a very rewarding instrument to explore. However, the best way to understand the magic of this instrument and get a feel for it is to watch some Sansula videos!
It has a truly beautiful and melodic tone, it’s easy to play and can be used in the energy field of your clients for 1-2-1 sound healing sessions and in group sound baths. It’s also amazing for self-care!
Some of the great features of the Sansula are:
- is fitted with a robust and durable remo (USA) synthetic drum skin, which makes it moisture resistant and therefore holds rich tones even in damp conditions
- it creates an impressive 'wah-wah' effect that can be produced by holding the instrument against the body
- it’s lightweight and small, making it the perfect travel companion
- the vibrations of the 9 tines can be easily felt in the hands
- can be used by both children and adults
- it is built from high quality cherry wood for the Kalimba block, and Beech wood for the frame
The Sansula has a very broad appeal starting with people that are new to the instrument and sound healing practitioners - they can all have great fun with the Sansula!
Why not try the Sansula and start incorporating its melodic and healing sounds into your sessions.
Would you like to purchase your own Sansula?
Purchase from or US store here
Purchase from or UK store here
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