A Visit to the Shellopan FABLAB - With Rafael Sotomayor

With Rafael Sotomayor being the man who first made us here at HPM, fall in love with the sound of the Hang , some years back now- we were always going to be a fan of this video, featuring both the Hang (Played by Rafael), and its younger French-made sibling, the Shellopan (Played by Katrin) - Recorded at Shellopan's very own, "FABLAB" (a place that we're beginning to imagine being a little like the Handpan version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory)...

Which is followed up by a video of Rafael Sotomayor performing one of the tracks, that, would ultimately lead us to empty our own bank balance, and purchase a first gen Hang in Ake Bono for ourselves; many years ago (though this time on an Ake Bono Shellopan)...

Two performances that are complimented by this final video, that offers a brief look at part of the Shellopan building process. Offering a short tour of how they prepare their Handpan shells in preparation for tuning...

Find more information on Shellopan: HERE, or read about Clemen's week-long visit to the Shellopan FabLab (trying his hand at Handpan making): HERE

HandPan Bling - by RevolutionJewels

If King Midas had found employment making Handpan, for tiny little pan-playing pixies, surely, he would make them something very much like these…  

22k yellow, and rose gold plated - unfortunately, for those of us who are human-sized, these Handpan are too small to play. However, for those of us looking for something shiny and Handpan-shaped to hang around our necks - you could do worse than to check out RevolutionJewel’s "PendPAn" range of Hanpan-themed “Bling”, and other assorted knick-knacks.

‘We are glad to introduce you the new generation of PendPAn. The PendPAn is a miniature of the musical instrument called Handpan or Hang. It's totally handmade with passion and love for this kind of musical instrument. The PendPAn V6 is made with precious Sterling Silver 925 (average 25g). All the pendant is plated with Rose Gold 22k and the ding and the ring are plated with 22k Yellow Gold. The characteristic that make this pendant special and unique is the possibility to be opened and hide something inside of it. All the PendPAns will be sold with the necklace in (synthetic leather) and there is a serial number incised inside, so every piece will be unique.’ - from the RevolutionJewels ETSY shop

Gold not really your thing?  Not to worry - RevolutionJewels offer a range of pendants, and key-rings, etc. in materials ranging from precious metals, through to the more pocket-friendly (and multi-coloured) offerings crafted from synthetic resins...

Interested? You can find RevolutionJewels offering their wares for sale over at ETSY: HERE

The RAV Drum VAST - The Steel Tongue Drum Strikes Back

It’s been a little while since we’ve done a post on a Steel Tongue Drum.  While beautiful instruments within their own right, within Handpan-circles, Steel Tongue Drum have always been somewhat regarded as “stepping-stone” instruments, being similar in many ways to a Handpan, and being much easier (particularly historically speaking) to acquire, than a genuine pan.  A sort of “make do”, until you could get your hands on the real thing.  And now that Handpan have become considerably easier to get your hands on, with the recent influx of new makers, the Steel Tongue Drum has in recent times taken a back-seat within our interests.  

However, with the emergence of a couple of newly published videos featuring the multi-instrumentalist Handpan aficionado, Nadishana, the Steel Tongue Drum is now very much back on our radar…

We’ve been following the development of the RAV drum (built by Andrey Remyannikov) for a while now over at Handpan.org, where it has received considerable interest, and praise, with many seeming to consider it (due to the RAV’s patented technology that allows for the tuning of up to six harmonics per tongue) to be among the STD (such an unfortunate acronym) with a sound closest to the Handpan.  But it wasn’t until we heard the newer “Vast” model of RAV drum, under the hands of players like Nadishana (and Kabecao) that we really sat up, and paid attention…

Like what you hear?  Find them for sale over at the RAV ETSY store: HERE.

The Ship of Theseus - A HandPan Thought-Experiment

In a recent micro-post featuring a first-generation PANArt Hang retuned by Ralf van den Bor, of Ayasa, we commented on the fact that PANArt have, in recent years, somewhat (completely) turned their backs on owners of earlier Hang models, withdrawing any, and all offers of maintenance work.  Something that has forced owners of earlier-made Hang (anything built prior to the Free-Integral Hang if we recall correctly) to seek out, and go cap-in-hand to, the makers of other Handpan, when in need of tuning services.

Over the last few years we’ve seen an increasing number of Hang videos over at Youtube featuring Hang retuned by other tuners.  Which begs the question we first saw put forward by long-serving moderator over of Handpan.org, Ray "Greenoak" Ford: Is a Hang (or any Handpan for that matter) retuned by anybody other than its original maker, still the same instrument?  Is a Hang, retuned by anybody other than either Felix, or Sabina, over at PANArt, still truly a PANArt Hang?

The Ship of Theseus

The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus' paradox, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late first century. Plutarch asked whether a ship that had been restored by replacing every single wooden part remained the same ship.

The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.  — Plutarch, Theseus

Plutarch thus questions whether the ship would remain the same if it were entirely replaced, piece by piece. Centuries later, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes introduced a further puzzle, wondering what would happen if the original planks were gathered up after they were replaced, and used to build a second ship.  Hobbes asked which ship, if either, would be the original Ship of Theseus.

The Ship of Theseus thought-experiment may be an extreme example with which to ask the question of whether a Handpan retuned by any maker other than the originator, remains the same instrument - but there is a question there regardless...

Does the magic of any given Handpan lie within its base material as PANArt might be inclined to tell you? Or is it within the wielding of the hammer?  Does each individual tuner have their own unique, and distinct signature?  And if so, if a Hang is retuned anywhere else other than by the side of a babbling river in a picture-postcard setting some-place in Bern, by anybody other than the original Swiss inventors - how much of its original innate "Hang-ness" (if such a thing exists); still remains?

MAYTZO - Bringing HandPan Music Back a Gear

We first stumbled across Maytzo at the beginning of last year (2015), and were instantly taken with their sound.

And now perhaps, at a time where arguably it feels like a few too many of us, have at least partially traded our own “inner styles", in favour of trying to emulate the often fast-paced, technique-heavy playing methods of pan-artists like, Adrian Portia, and Kabecao (awesome as they are) - the beautifully-crafted-sweet-melodic-soundscapes of Maytzo, all of a sudden, seem even more appealing than ever.

Like a breath of fresh air, Maytzo, reel things back a little.  No need to break a mental-sweat while listening, trying to figure out: “what the hell did he/she just do there?” - but instead, simply enjoy the music - which is as rich, as it is sweet - conveying genuine emotion, in place of ding-bending, and harmonic-isolation.  

The music of Maytzo shares partial flavour with fellow Spanish boy-girl Handpan duo, Anuah.  And like Anuah, Maytzo appear to favour (or at least feature primarily) the instruments of Spanish Handpan maker, BEllArt. And a fair bit of flute.

Over at YouTube, Maytzo, describe themselves as being:

‘...a Duo specialized in Hang, Bells and Handpan music. Extremely harmonic and melodic. But we don't stop here. We use the rhythms to create acoustic dub and reggae music. All with the lovely sound of Hang. Our instruments are: Hang/Bells/Handpan, Cross flute, bansuri, melodica, bass, guitar, xaphoon, xylophone, pianokeyboard, percussion, etc.’...

To hear more Maytzo music, you can find them at YouTube: HERE, or over at BandCamp: HERE
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