Impempe Whistles

the whistle of note


 Welcome to the homepage of Impempe Whistles!

     Makers of fine handcrafted Aluminium Whistles, situated in Hilton in the beautiful midlands of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The misty mornings in the lush green foothills give one a sense of the Scottish landscape and the call of the fish eagle confirms the african-ness, bringing a blend of Celtic and African traditions which are epitomized in the Impempe whistle.

We build handmade whistles in a variety of keys, and have whistles both Low and high, with a slightly different approach to both.  The whistle is a great starting point for musical instruments and a great alternative to the traditional recorder.  Once you have mastered the whistle, the possibilities are endless.  Don’t be fooled by the seemingly innocent title of “penny” whistle.  This is no cheap toy.  It is a genuine musical instrument that has tugged many heart strings.  Think of the Titanic movie theme, Braveheart etc. Come to think of it how about South Africa’s own Mango Groove, Big Voice Jack, and Spokes Mashiane.  The whistle has a rich heritage in South Africa with the Kwela genre having brought a special happy, catchy vibe to the world but filled with history and destiny.

Soprano D

The whistles are made of Aluminium with a curved windway.  which helps deal with moisture and condensatiopn.  They come with a tuning slide which needs a touch of tuning slide grease or equivalent to help with a smooth slide and prevent from siezing.  The whistles are tuned with close attention to balance across the octaves as well as a comfortable reach for the fingers.  Each whistle is tested and played before being shipped and ensured that it is in good order.  After extensive development, this new shaped windway has brought about a change in the design with better intonation and focus but not losing the traditional Impempe sound.  Each one being handmade means that there are no two whistles that are exactly the same, however the quality and final product are never compromised.

The Whistle is an instrument of ancient origin having found a home in not only Celtic traditions, but Asian, African and American as well.  It is known by many names the most common ones being the Irish Whistle, Penny Whistle, Flageolet, Tin whistle and of course the Zulu name Impempe.

For any further information or details please conatact Ian Turnbull on:
+27 33 3434737(h) +27 82  5713177 (cell)



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Away from the workshop

I will be off on a trip to the Glasgow, place of my grandparents birth. Spending a few weeks at the college of piping at their summer school. Unfortunately unable to complete orders until I am back 1st September 2013. So drop me a note at and I will get back to you when I return.
Attending the piping live week in Glasgow from 12 to 18 August where I hope to catch Fred Morrison, Julie Fowlis amongst many others

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