Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Helping Hand

Please welcome Charlie to the team. A Londoner living in Kigali. 

He's got an engineering background and wanted to get involved with the project. We're giving him the task of rebuilding the Lirika action so that we can use it to test the prototype. Marion was supposed to be in charge of that but her day job has her pretty busy so we're practising delegation. 

He's got quite a job ahead of him.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Museum of Music

Happy New Year!

We've been a bit late getting started, but we're on the move again. Updates soon.

Meanwhile, check this out. Rwanda is opening a museum of music.

Maybe we could do a display about our piano someday. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Balance Pins

Paulin has returned from DRC. Thanks to everyone who made a donation. There's still time.

Here he is putting the front rail and balance rail pins in the keyboard. 

Monday, 16 December 2019

Goma Tragedy

News Photograph

We have some very sad news to report at Kigali Keys. 

Three weeks ago a plane went down in Goma, a city in the DRC just across the border from Gisenyi. The plane landed in a residential area. One of the houses it hit belonged to the brother of our chief piano carpenter, Paulin. His brother was at church at the time, but it killed his sister-in-law and their children.

Our thoughts are with him at this time and we are holding a collection for his family. If you would like to contribute, you can do so through our donation button, or contact us for mobile money details. Add Paulin to the PayPal note and we'll make sure he gets it. Our condolences to all those who died and their families.

Paulin, left.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Lirika Rebirth

Rodrigo Putting in Tuning Pins

A much awaited update.

Recognise this lovely instrument? 

It's our original Lirika. The 1968 Soviet piano we took apart to learn how pianos work. We're starting to put her back together. Painted black with a purple frame. Fresh tuning pins are being put in and then she'll come to mine for stringing. We'll be using the same red leather as our new build piano and even attaching some candle sconces. She's having quite a makeover. Even contemplating replacing the white key tops with mirror plastic, just for fun. But we'll see where we get to. If you missed it, the original Lirika bass strings were turned into a giant treble clef.



Saturday, 7 December 2019

African Mona Lisa

We've posted before about talented Rwandan artist Ishumwe Dady. We love this portrait he painted of musician Clement Iradukunda, prominently featuring piano keys. You can see more of Dady's work here.

African Mona Lisa

Saturday, 16 November 2019

From Russia With Love

A couple of months back, Marion's cousin Tamsin was travelling in Tajikistan with her partner, Guido. They went to Khorog museum and found this piano:

This fascinating Soviet-style old-school museum exhibits crampons and the first Russian piano to arrive in Badakhshan (10 Russian soldiers spent two months carrying it over the mountains from Osh in 1913) along with portraits of Stalin and the basket of a collective farm's star potato-picker. The dilapidated collection is in need of a good dust but that rather adds to the charm. - Lonely Planet

It's an J. Becker. We initially assumed it was named after John J. Becker, an American composer, but a piano forum suggests otherwise:
The Piano Atlas indicates that Jacob Becker went to St. Petersburg in 1841 (from Germany by other sources) where he began what became the high end piano maker for the Czars and their retinue. This Russian maker whose name as J. Becker was known on the fallboards appearing in the best homes of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in both conservatories where the formidable Russian school of pianism began and was fostered. Becker was apparently a pretty good piano maker until the Soviet era. Their output was always pretty small. - David Burton, Piano World

Unfortunately, this one now appears to be used to store cleaning equipment...