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Kalimba Go is a modern-day combination of wood thumb piano and Guitar Hero

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05 May 2021 / 12:05BST

Rarely do smart ‘gamified’ instruments stray from the usual suspects: guitar and piano. But it’s fun when they do – as evidenced by videogames like Samba de Amigo and Donkey Konga. Kalimba Go (from CA$59; shipping June 2021) tries something we’ve never seen before, fusing a kalimba and a touchscreen smart assistant. Kalimba thumb pianos – a 1920s reinterpretation of the far older African mbria – are easy to mess around with – but hard to master. That’s where the smart assistant comes in. You pick a song and respond to dots that scroll down the screen, like a tine-twanging take on Guitar Hero. If your favourite track’s not in the cloud library, a web app lets you make your own musical tabs, so you can twang out to everything from Led Zeppelin to Beyoncé. Not got your own compatible 17-tine kalimba to play? Add CA$29 to your pledge and you’ll be shipped one of those too.

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