PANGVengers PANGSsemble - The PANArt Family Pang Jam

While PANArt themselves (at time of writing) move increasingly away from the HandPan form of musical instruments, that their creation, the Hang, gave birth to.  Their activities, as the inventors of this instrument type, will always be of interest to the HandPan community.  And this week has seen some interesting new videos uploaded to PANArt's YouTube channel, not least of which, is the video titled, ‘PANArt Pangensemble: Hands on Pang’ - a PANArt family-style jam, that features some of their latest creations made from their patented Pang material - with lyrics, that have already attracted controversy...

The video itself shows off some of PANArt’s more recent creations, the percussive, Urgu, and the stringed: Pang Sei, Pang Sui, and Pang Sai.  With Felix Rohner on vocals.  

And while in general, we’ve been less captivated by PANArt’s newer inventions, than we were, and indeed are, the Hang.  It’s still very much an enjoyable performance.  With the instruments sounding great - and being played with skill...

The Hang itself of course is absent, as it usually is in recent times, publicly strengthening PANArt’s move away from the instrument that brought them to the attention of a worldwide audience.  And fitting - in that while much of the rest of the world appears to disagree - the PANArt crew, and seemingly; Felix in particular, do not believe the Hang (and with it the entire HandPan sub-culture) to be PANArt's greatest contribution to the world. But that Pang, the material from which the Hang was born, is.

Some have made note of PANArt’s slightly-mournful looking demeanour - and while it’s true that the performance is not particularly upbeat, as somebody who has as yet, been equally unable to master the Daniel Waples-like grin while performing, and looks equally pained (particularly when being filmed) - I try not to draw too much from that - other than perhaps, that not everybody feels truly comfortable putting themselves out there for, and under, the inevitable scrutiny of the internet.  Analysis, and scrutiny that goes double, when you happen to be PANArt - considering the somewhat uneasy relationship they have, with a sizeable percentage of those who adore their instruments (and the Hang in particular).  

It is the lyrics of the piece however, that have caused most discussion - being seemingly rich in the kind of dogma, and condemnations, of which PANArt are often accused.  Some of which, may be coincidental (such as Felix’s use of the word ‘Halo’), or due to poor translation, yet other lyrics are impossible to confuse.  Such as:Hands on Pang is more than an electronic sample of an app”, and “More than clicks on a plastic handpan shell”, which appear to be referring to devices such as the Oval (or equally, instruments that PANArt consider to be made from inferior materials to their own Pang).  And the lines “More than a performance on YouTube, More than a kick for people in the tube…” - which (despite the PANArt crew themselves now fairly frequently uploading videos to their own channel), seem to reflect their somewhat known disapproval of the YouTube performers, and street artists - that use their instruments, to 'obtain kudos for themselves' (ego).

Regardless though, the performance, and the instruments are enjoyable. And with the Hang-makers having had little in the way of an online presence until the last year or so, any genuine insight into who, and what, they are; is interesting - shrouded in mystery as they have been.

And should PANArt's latest video offering, lead to some kind of 'Hip-Hop style' tit-for-tat musical showdown, with other makers who have taken offence - should the Pantheon Steel guys grab a couple of Halo, wheel out their Grandma to accompany them on the spoons, and pen a retaliatory musical diatribe in response - all the better. :)

Because those who understand PANArt's native dialect, often suggest that much of the humour is lost in translation - when converted to English. And in this instance, in this case, we're going to choose to believe (despite some doubts), that there's more of that, to this, than meets the eye...

Catch the latest videos from PANArt over at their YouTube channel: HERE
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