Cas Cas - The Shaker / Percussion Instrument Used by Daniel Waples

A favourite of Hang/HandPan musician, ‘Daniel Waples’, ‘Cas Cas’ are percussive / shaker instruments native to African countries, that are traditionally constructed from the gourds of the West African Swawa tree, filled with tiny pebbles, or beans, connected by small rope.

Also sometimes known as: ‘Aslatua’, or ‘Kashaka’ (among other names), Cas Cas can be played in many ways, but generally they are played by holding one gourd in the palm while simultaneously shaking and swinging the second gourd, using the hand and arm movement combined with gravity and speed to create rhythms.  And with a little practise, can be used to add some pretty effective one-man accompaniment to the sounds of the HandPan.

Cas Cas create both shaking sounds, and percussive clicks, and in addition to being a percussive instrument in their own right, Cas Cas are also useful as a skill-development tool: that can help improve dexterity, ambidexterity, brain hemispheric synchronization, and develop the ability to multi-task. It can also build muscle mass and improve flexibility in the hands, arms, shoulders and chest. And they are also used by some as a meditative tool, used to induce a trance state, promote relaxation, and lower stress levels.

As noted above, Daniel Waples has been responsible for introducing the Cas Cas to many within the HandPan world, and he can often be seen playing them in his videos with one hand, while continuing to play the Hang / HandPan with the other.  As can be seen in the video below…

The 'Ohm' HandPan - A HandPan / Steel Tongue Drum Hybrid

Introduced to the world on the 23rd of January, 2015, at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, held in Anaheim, CA, comes the ‘Ohm’ HandPan, the result of a collaboration between Dave’s Island Instrument's, and Hapi (arguably the world’s most recognisable name in commercially available steel tongue drums).  

Not content with bringing the world the first Electric HandPan (to our knowledge), DII (and Hapi) have now unleashed this ‘patent pending’ HandPan / Steel Tongue Drum hybrid instrument - an instrument that features both the tone fields as per a standard HandPan, but additionally, features a complimentary, and sympathetic, circle of tuned tongues.

Enthusiasm for this hybrid over at Facebook has been considerable, and while at time of posting, we only have the one video to go on, it does sound very sweet indeed. With 15 notes in total, the tuned-tongues combine a ghostlike resonance with the Ohm's bold sounding tone-fields - offering up something both familiar, yet very new.

"...this hybrid will change the world of handpans as we know it!" states one fan of the Ohm over at the DII Facebook page.  And while that may, or may not, prove to be true.  We'd certainly like to get our hands on one for a test-drive...

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