Ravid Goldschmidt - Calm Upon You

Meet Ravid Goldschmidt, to me, the most ‘elegant’ Hang / HandPan musician I’ve ever heard. And a man with a playing style, very much his own.

Some say that the voice of a PANArt Hang resembles the sound of a choir of Angels. And with his heavenly, classical sounding playing style, Ravid Goldschmidt, above all others, I can imagine most likely in the position of Angelic choir master. Playing upon the golden steps, with white gloved hands, welcoming in those who have passed, to days of peace forever after.

Little personal information about Ravid is offered up within his websites biography. Merely telling of his profound fascination with the Hang. And of his move to Barcelona in 2004, a base from which to perform across Spain, and Europe.

“I think something beautiful happened to this young man, a realization of some kind..." comments one YouTube viewer - in a statement that sums up the emotion of Ravid’s sound beautifully.

Ravid has recorded, and/or performed upon a number of hypnotic albums, including the 12 track, ‘Ravid Hang’, the epic 16 track, ‘Calm Upon You’, and the ‘Llama’ album, featuring Ravid on Hang, alongside Silvia Perez Cruz on vocals. All of which can be purchased from Ravids’ website: HERE. Or alternatively, if you fancy watching some more of Ravid’s video performances, you can visit his YouTube channel: HERE

American-Made HandPan / Hang Drum Alternatives List


This website, like most not targeted towards some kind of localised niche, receives the largest portion of its visitors from the U.S. And whether reaching this site out of initial interest in the ‘Hang drum’, after watching a YouTube video or two. Or in the final stages of searching for a HandPan to purchase. If only to save on shipping charges, and import taxes, it makes sense in many ways, if possible, for Americans, to buy American.
Though (at time of writing), as you may well already be aware, in the world of HandPan, due to the limited number of pans in existence, and the limited number being produced at any given time, to add to the stock - things are rarely that easy. However, with that said, just a few short years ago, there were NO American makers. And now, at time of writing, already a handful of HandPan makers based in the U.S.A have emerged. And no doubt the future will give bloom to more.
And so with that in mind - we'll try to keep this page updated with all known American-made HandPan.
Pantheon Steel Halo

The most established, trusted, and most sought after of the American-made HandPan has to be the Pantheon Steel Halo. Solid in build, and sweet in tuning, the Halo, is considered to be among the best HandPan currently available. And seems to get better with each new HandPan built.

Unfortunately though, as with the PANArt Hang, and other highly sought after pans, obtaining a Pantheon Steel Halo is either not easy (should you go the waiting list route / lottery), or not cheap (should you buy via ebay). With roughly only around 300 made per year (at time of writing), and 14,000+ people having signed up to the Pantheon Steel lottery. You’ll need to be lucky to win the chance to purchase one via the standard route. Or willing to shell out $6000-$7000 to buy one new from Pantheon via their single monthly ebay auction.

More Information

Dave Beery’s Genesis HandPan

With 15+ years of steel pan tuning under his belt, many were hoping that Dave Beery would try his hand at making HandPan. And now, with his range of Genesis HandPan, he has. A relatively new member (at time of writing) to the HandPan family, Dave Beery’s Genesis HandPan are sounding better and better all the time. They’re cheaper than the Halo, and more easily available too (for now). So if you’re looking for an American-made HandPan to purchase, the Genesis (and it’s smaller sibling the ‘Symphonette’), are HandPan certainly worth taking a look at.

More Information
Zen HandPan

Made in California, by the maker known as, 'Manny', Zen HandPan are among the more pleasing recent additions to the world of American-made HandPan.  Very little is known about them at time of writing, however, in terms of a makers dedication to the goal of producing a 'quality' handpan, with the Zen, the results appear to very much speak for themselves (i.e. this is a sweet sounding pan).

More Information

More American-Made HandPan:

* Saraz HandPan
* Aura HandPan
* Symphonic Steel
* Tzevaot
* TerraPan
Note - While the Bali Steel Pan is not made in the U.S.A, due to trade agreements with Bali, the importation of a Bali Steel HandPan to the States should not incur import taxes.  Find more info on the Bali Steel Pan: HERE
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Dead Can Dance - Anastasis (Featuring the Hang)

While at some point in the future, hearing a Hang, or HandPan, used in some kind of ‘mainstream’ project, or by an outfit of some recognition, may lose its excitement. Becoming more and more common, as it inevitably will - that day has not yet come (at time of writing).

And with ‘Dead Can Dance’, primarily consisting of: ‘Brendan Perry’, and ‘Lisa Gerrard’, having sold over 500,000 thousand copies of their 1993 album, ‘Into the Labyrinth’, and with their 1996 release, ‘Spiritchaser’ reaching the number one spot of the World Music Albums Chart. You can be sure that with the track ‘Anabasis’ (meaning a military advance, or retreat), from their similarly titled 2012 release ‘Anastasis’, is going to bring the Hang, and HandPan, to the attention of many who had previously not heard of what is still (at time of writing) a very new, rare (and incredibly beautiful) instrument type.
Anabasis 

The Second track on Anastasis, Anabasis is six minutes fifty of hypnotic Middle-Eastern sounding beats, with the Hang firmly at its heart. Overlaid with the haunting vocals of both Brendan, and Lisa. All set to a collage of exquisite beauty. Which carries the viewer through soundscapes, and landscapes, and throws in a healthy dose of time-lapse for good measure. All of which makes for the mesmerising audial/visual journey that one fan describes as being, ‘full of passion, grace, and fire’, while others describe the album as being, ‘inspiring’, and ‘powerfully emotional’. And I find myself inclined to agree with each of them.

You can preview, and/or purchase Anastasis at Amazon: HERE

Additionally, ‘David Kuckhermann’, professional percussionist, and HandPan player, has been touring with Dead Can Dance on their recent tour. With one attendee describing David’s performance as sounding like ‘angelic sounds drifting throughout the Energy Centre, in a dream that nobody wanted to end’. Nice!
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Blue Snowball Mic Test - Recording HandPan


Having been considering purchase of a microphone to plug into the netbook for a while now, to do a little HandPan recording with - I did a little looking around online for options, and the one that peaked my interest most, was the ‘Blue Snowball’ mic, a ‘budget’ USB condenser microphone, with a seemingly great reputation.

Repeatedly recommended within the HandPan community to those looking for a decent microphone without having to break the bank, spoken of highly by Harmonic Hearts man, ‘Danny Sorensen’, and known to have been used by Pantheon Steel to record the original Genesis Halo sound samples. In addition to generally receiving glowing reviews outside of the HandPan community for everything from podcasting, to recording live performances. I decided to give the Snowball from Blue a shot.

The Look

While arguably the looks of a gadget like this are superfluous to its function. If you like your gadgets to look hot - this thing is proper sexy!  Larger than you might think from the pictures online, the Blue Snowball USB Condenser mic is solid, and is uber stylish in design, comes available in a choice of colors, and sat upon its tripod, strangely reminds me of some kind of behemoth-like planet destroying robot from outer space (but maybe that’s just me). Either ways, the Blue Snowball is a very nice looking piece of kit.
Setting up

The reviews for the Snowball Blue on Amazon would have you believe that setting this mic up is a doddle. And they weren’t lying. Plug and Play, the Snowball installed its drivers in seconds, and Audacity (free recording software), recognised the mic straight away. I hit the record button and I was off. It just couldn’t have been easier.

Price

Mine cost me about $80 - which puts it within the ‘budget’ price range for a ‘semi-professional’ microphone of this type. Though many reviews claim that the Snowball by Blue is not simply just among the best of its range, but that also, it outperforms microphones far more expensive too.
Is it any good?

I’m impressed. Not blown away, but definitely impressed. With bonus points given for the fact that it is notoriously difficult to capture all the intricacies of any given HandPans voice, using recording equipment. So that while, to my ear, the quality of the recordings would not be suitable for radio play (at least without some tweaking), the quality beats the crap out of that I was previously reaching using my digital camcorders in-built mic. And i’m sure that with a little playing around, in terms of mic position, room acoustics, and perhaps even twiddling with a few dials using Audacity (or your audio editing software of choice), it’s only going to sound even better.

I like it. The Blue Snowball is reasonably priced, super-solid in build, and catches some nice audio. Sometimes gadgets like these can be a huge let-down, and when they are, I’m more then happy to send them back for a refund. But I get the feeling, the Blue Snowball, is gonna be sat on my desk looking all sexy in black (white, and chrome are also available), for some time to come...
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Buying Pre-Sunk / Pre-Formed HandPan Shells

While ideally, if we were to start trying our hands at HandPan making (a half-dream of ours), we'd like to learn from scratch, shell sinking and-all. It does seem like there could be some advantages to buying pre-formed shells. For one, it’s going to take a lot of the ‘grunt’ work out of building a HandPan - the endless hours of bashing away with a hammer, and the noise that must accompany that process (although much hammering is obviously still involved in the tuning process). And for another, buying shells from a known and trusted manufacturer, eliminates the need to experiment with different metals (something to save for later - when pushing your skills) - by providing a proven blank canvas upon which to work.

Handpan shells, are the blank steel domes from which Handpan can be formed, and tuned. They can be hand-hammered into shape (using a mallet, or compressed air hammer) from sheet-steel, or formed using other methods, such as spinning, and deep-drawing.  And in terms of what sellers are currently offering, some come completely blank, while others are now being sold with either the Ding (top nipple-like note), or the Gu (hole in the bottom), already in place.  

As more sellers arrive on the market, prices are naturally beginning to fall with the increased availability.  And a number of highly-regarded makers are known to have either experimented with, or use exclusively, Handpan shells produced by other makers.

As hinted at above, probably the most important thing to check for when looking to purchase pre-formed Handpan shells, is some kind of evidence that the shells are fit-for-purpose.  While the qualifications required to produce good Handpan shells, are not necessarily the same as those required to become a good Handpan tuner, without being able to hear a Handpan that has actually been made with the shells in question, you can't really be sure, that the shells being sold are suitable for the construction of Handpan.  And have the right qualities to sing.

The thickness of the metal, for example, is just one factor, that if too far off, could render a Handpan shell useless for the purposes of building Handpan.


Hang Drum Music on iTunes - Hot Picks!

While we’re more than aware that tastes in music differ considerably, and that you’re more than capable of selecting your own favorite albums, and performers. Often, we’ve found throughout our life, is that the best musical gems, that we would never have discovered otherwise, have been passed to us by a friend. And as to some degree we like to consider ourselves your friend ;) we’ve taken time out of our busy schedule, just for you, friend, to open your ears to some of the best ‘Hang drum’ selections to be found on iTunes. Ready, and waiting to flow like silk into your eardrums via your iPod, iPhone, or whatever Apple based device you favor.
Living Room - Manu Delago, and Christoph Pepe Auer

A collaboration between master Hang musician Manu Delago, and Christoph Pepe Auer, ‘Living Room’, is an eclectic, and chilled eleven track offering. And while mixing things up with a variety of other instruments, Living Room features a more than healthy dose of Hang (as any Manu album should). And the overall blend makes for some sweet audio bliss. Creating the sort of vibe that (during my Uni days) I would have used to impress bohemian friends over a smoke with - to elevate myself to the level of Uber-cool. :)
Living Room

Beats for Your Feet - Hang Massive

One of the most celebrated Hang outfits around at time of writing, ‘Hang Massive’, is the joining of former ‘Hang Playing Hedge Monkey’, Danny Cudd, with Markus Johansson. And together, like a Hang-Playing Power Ranger, they’ve been producing some of the most listened too (and shared) video/audio online. And at eight tracks long, and featuring what has become one of the most recognisable Hang tracks in the world, the epic ‘Once Again’ - in addition to some other really cool live shizzney, Beats for Your Feet, if any Hang album were ever to be considered a ‘classic’, would certainly be in the running.
Beats for Your Feet

Knee-Deep in the North Sea - Portico Quartet

Among the first Hang albums I ever heard, was Portico Quartet’s ‘Knee-Deep in the North Sea’. The Jazz-hang fusion of awesomeness that blew me away as it popped from Apple-approved ear-buds, as I walked along the shore-line of an incoming tide, on a cold, grey English beach. So that while the Portico Quartet seem to be moving more, and more away from the Hang, the instrument that arguably mad etheir name, in recent years, Knee-Deep in the North Sea still remains a testament to what once was, for these London’s South Bank buskers, and Mercury Music Prize nominees. And to all who fell in awe to this classic nine track Hang-Jazz masterpiece, back in the day.
Knee-Deep In the North Sea (Deluxe Edition)

The Yoga Sessions - Masood Ali Khan

With a title like ‘The Yoga Sessions’, you’d expect this album to be pretty much exactly what it is. PANArt Hang at its most relaxing, and spiritual. And The Yoga Sessions by Massod Ali Khan doesn’t disappoint.  Another personal favorite of mine from the days of having first discovered the ‘Hang drum’, The Yoga Sessions is eleven tracks of downloadable bliss. And is an almost guaranteed remedy for fighting off the blues of those long days when nothing goes your way - especially when enjoyed lying on the couch, with a glass of nice wine. Or, of course, for those of you who practise such arts (as the name suggests), the album makes for the perfect soundtrack to accompany a little Yoga.

Dharma Wheel (feat. Suzanne Sterling)

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