The Kalimba is well-known also as "thumb piano". It comes from Africa where this lamellophone has many different names. Whether it is called Mbria (Simbabwe), Sanza (Ghana, Zaire, the Congo, Gabon), Likembe or Budongo (Uganda, Angola), Ikembe (Tanzania and Burundi) or Kankobele (Zambia) , the Kalimba is always played with the thumbs. Some variation of the kalimba is available, with up to 40 tones. Rings or clips are sometimes attached to the sound tongues or the sound-box , which produce an additional percussive effect, like the chains of a Snare Drum.

Certainly there are even more names for the Kalimba in Africa, like Kondi or Kongoma, Chitata, Kone, Kundi, Ubo Aka or Agidigbo etc....

But all these instruments have got one thing in common, the lowest tone is (usually) in the center, and the sound tongues (lamellas) are made of metal or wood.