Pablo’s Sword - Narcos, and the HandPan

If like us, you’ve been enjoying the 2015~ NetFlix show, Narcos.  You can’t have failed to hear the familiar sounds of the Handpan, time-and-time-again, drifting in and out of the sound-scape - as if in warning of a coming storm...

Narcos is an American crime thriller television series created and produced by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. Season 1, comprising 10 episodes, originally aired on August 28, 2015, as a Netflix exclusive.  Set and filmed in Colombia, season 1 tells the true story of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who became a billionaire through the production and distribution of cocaine, while also focusing on Escobar's interactions with drug lords, DEA agents, and various opposition entities.  And while we definitely heard the sounds of the Hang, and/or Handpan within the soundtrack in numerous places, the most frequently-played track on which it appears is the composition titled, “Pablo’s Sword”, which you can hear in the video below...

The soundtrack to Narcos was created by Rio de Janeiro born and raised composer, Pedro Bromfman.  Who talks about how he set about creating the show's soundtrack in an interview over at

‘The idea was to use a lot of Colombian instruments. I play some of them because I grew up in South America, but others were new to me. It wasn’t about necessarily playing Colombian rhythms at all times but to create that flavor.

There are some other instruments that are completely foreign to Colombia. There’s one called the Hang from Switzerland, which has this deep, haunting, metallic sound that I use in a few scenes.  

We brought all of those instruments into the studio, and I was exploring and playing with them, then I recorded them, and then we would bring them into the computer so I could make ambiances out of those organic sounds. They aren’t synthesized and I think the audience can somehow feel that…’.

© HandPans Magazine