The L.A. Marimba Institute began in 2016 with an idea. After many years playing in the Los Angeles based Masanga Marimba Ensemble, founded by Dr. Ric Alviso of California State University, Northridge. After 15 years of being asked by curious fans whether or not we made our own marimbas and whether or not we taught lessons, I decided to start saying “Yes!” and “Yes!” to those questions and set out with the aim of sharing the enjoyment of playing marimba.  I was joined early on by my fellow band-mate Scott Murphy, a marimba maker and music educator and we began by designing and creating tabletop marimbas for teaching and sharing marimba music. We launched the Los Angeles Marimba Institute with the mission of spreading the joy of marimba by building instruments, teaching, sharing information, and releasing music. From the modern classical instruments played in orchestras and jazz clubs to it’s relatives and their own unique styles around the world from Central America to Africa.  Please check out our About Marimba page free information, and visit our online Store to learn about our marimbas.

Meet the team:

Joel Mankey


Scott Murphy


James Waterman

Teaching Artist