The Tielldrum - A Kalimba-Like UFO Drum

A few days ago we took a look at the Hudeel, a Handpan-esque steel Udu drum, as part of our imagined Handpan-orchestra.  But an orchestra needs more instruments.  Sure, we could add in some Bass Halo from Pantheon Steel, on the deep-end.  But to reach those particularly twinkly places, we might consider the Tielldrum, a Kalimba-like singing-UFO, with a strange wibbly-wobbly quality to it..

Interestingly these have been around since 2014, and this is the first time we’ve seen one. Rammerdrum were around for a few years before that making classic-type steel tongue drum, but at some point in-between then, and now, they snuck the Tielldrum into their arsenal under our radar.  And now that we know about it, we’re claiming it as a contender, for our fantasy Handpan-centric-ensemble…

Find more information over at Rammerdrum's website: HERE Or find them at Facebook: HERE


Four Hands One HandPan - A Steel Connection

While it’s not something that we stumble across as frequently as we'd like to over in YouTube land, one of our personal favourite things about the Handpan instrument here at HPM, is the way in which one instrument can be comfortably shared between more than one player.  Duets featuring more than one Handpan are common. But we’ve always found something quite special in watching, listening to, and even experiencing for ourselves from time-to-time, steel shared...

The Handpan's shape fits perfectly between two people, and with the instruments specially designed sound-models / scales, that in general make it near impossible to hit a "wrong" note - playing Handpan with another, is always a lot of fun.  And while saying that it's a little like making "musical-love", might sound a little cliche.  We'd encourage you to try it for yourself (if you haven't already), and see if you don't feel - just a little flustered...

So that while with our reference above still in mind, the following may sound questionable - If two people just aren’t enough for you, well, the more the merrier.  As can be seen in the following Handpan-gang-bang from this years GRIASDI Handpan Festival - in which five “morally-loose” Handpanners, all share one Handpan, to great effect...

And should you be world-renowned for your “Magic Hands”, all the better...


The Hudeel - A Handpan-Esque Steel Udu Drum

Interesting variations on the classic Handpan design are always fascinating.  In the past we’ve had the Ohm from Dave’s Island Instruments, an instrument made of the steel tongue drum, mixed with the Handpan. More recently the KUNDA, from Vision Instruments, a stringed Handpan instrument. And even arguably the Gubal, from Hang-makers PANArt themselves, is a hybrid-Handpan of sorts.

 And while the following new instrument, the Hudeel, like PANArt’s Hang Gudu, defensibly has more in common with an Udu, than a Handpan. Listening to it under the hands of a well-known player like Kabeção (below), you can clearly hear that the instrument shares certain tonal qualities with the Handpan. In addition to having a familiar Handpan-esque shape. And transferable skills.

We recently took a second look at the concept of PANArt's Gamelan-style Pang orchestra, and while we can see the appeal of an instrument like the Hudeel regardless of any Handpan connection (real, or imagined), with PANArt having turned their backs on the Handpan scene a-whiles back, if the Handpan is ever to have a legitimate steel-orchestra all of its own, instruments like the Hudeel, will likely form a part of it.

For more information you can find the Hudeel at Facebook: HERE


HandPan on the Subway with Jerry Walsh - Orange is the New Black

The ways in which people discover the sounds of the Handpan (or as they are often known at that point, "weird metal turtle-shell wok drum things") are many and varied.  And while others first heard the instrument in a movie, a video gone viral, on the streets, at a Bjork gig, and as a catchy tune in their favourite video game (to name a few examples) - others have more recently been introduced to the Handpan’s sound via hit Netflix television show, Orange is the New Black.

Poussey loves a bit of Handpan
‘The series revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman in her 30s living in New York City who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's federal prison (operated by the "Federal Department of Corrections", a fictional version of the Federal Bureau of Prisons) in upstate New York. Piper had been convicted of transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her girlfriend Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), an international drug smuggler. The offense had occurred 10 years prior to the start of the series and in that time Piper had moved on to a quiet, law-abiding life among New York's upper middle class. Her sudden and unexpected indictment severely disrupts her relationships with her fiancé, family and friends.’

And in season four, episode 13, "Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again" (the season finale), Handpan musician, Jerry Walsh, plays what looks to be a second generation Hang for a sleepy yet appreciative New York City subway audience, and provides soundtrack to the beginning of a young Asian boy’s descent into crime (it’s a slippery-slope kid).  

Reportedly alerted to the opportunity by Handpan ambassador, Daniel Waples, Jerry Walsh wows for roughly one minute and seventeen seconds, Poussey, her fellow passengers, and roughly 7 million Netflix viewers across the episodes first two days of release (if figures roughly match those seen for the season’s premier).  Take a listen below…


Will the Real Bali Steel Pan Please Stand Up

The Original Bali Steel Pan
One interesting point of note learned via the recent announcement of a new 2016 model Bali Steel Pan Handpan, was the confirmation of something that we already suspected.  That there is now more than one make of Handpan going via the name of “Bali Steel Pan”.  

‘Please be aware not all hand pans sold under the name "balisteelpan" are from the original makers.  I am not selling any of our instruments on -  I only sell our hand pans with Ebay on my account Santasmusicshop…’.  Came a recent announcement on the Bali Steel website.

The "Other" Bali Steel Pan
The original Bali Steel Pan was among the first “Hang Alternatives” to hit the market, back in 2009.  And the original Bali Steel Pan team consists of:  I Ketut Suda, I Neghah Resna and Chris Andersen.  With all genuine Bali Steel instruments being produced on the island of Bali, in Indonesia.  Though that last part also seems to be true of these “other” Bali Steel Pan.

Despite the possible confusion, these “imposter” Bali Steel do appear to use videos of their own instruments, hoodwinking only in name (and arguably look) - so feel free to consider them under their own merits.  But in the interests of being an informed buyer, if it’s an “original” Bali Steel that you’re looking for, you might want to double check exactly what it is that you’re buying, and whom you are buying it from.

You can find original Bali Steel Pan for sale via the AndersenInstrumnets ETSY store: HERE

Are the Winners of Pantheon Steel's Past eBay Auctions the Real Losers, in the "New" Used-HandPan Market?

When a used Halo popped up for sale at eBay yesterday, at the price of $8000 - we knew it wouldn’t be long before the amount being asked came into question (see below)...

If it were nearly any other make of Handpan being offered for sale at near-three times what they are currently being sold for, it would be easy to write it off as "Chancing it", or "Greed", if you prefer.  However, when it comes to the Halo instruments of Pantheon Steel, things are not quite so clear-cut in the secondhand market.

While recently Pantheon Steel have been selling their Handpan for around the $3000 mark, flash-sale style when available, via their web-store.  Starting in 2011 Pantheon Steel began to hold near-monthly auctions via eBay, and as recently as eighteen months ago, Halo were selling via Pantheon's eBay store for as much as $15,000.  So that while when a used Halo pops up for sale with a "large" price-tag attached it could be very easy to point the greed-finger - it could just as easily be a past Halo auction winner simply attempting to recoup the amount that they themselves paid (something that has historically been fairly easy to do with a used Handpan)..

December, 2015
Pantheon Steel's eBay auctions ran near-monthly between 2011-2015, and while the highest price reached was $15,000.  Prices of $8000+ were fairly common.  And seemingly prices as high as $10,000 were also paid for Halo via Pantheon Steel's annual silent-auction style lottery system (how many we don't know).

Mid-2015, in correlation with a large increase in the number of known Handpan makers, we noticed that the prices reached for Pantheon's monthly eBay offerings had dipped significantly.  Meaning that while if you paid an extra-pretty-penny for your Halo via eBay auction, are fully content, and have no intentions of ever parting with it - you wouldn't catch us referring to you as a "Loser" - they're beautiful instruments - and you can't take your money with you. But from a purely financial perspective, attempting to recoup anywhere near some of the prices paid for Halo at eBay (or lottery) just a couple of years ago, in the current secondhand marketplace, could prove to be something of a struggle.

Pantheon Steel's Official (no longer monthly) March, 2016 offering...


Rust: The Longest War - Know Thy Enemy

When Handpan musician Lauri Wuolio asked Russian Handpan maker Victor Levinson, what he thought would happen to his instruments over the next thousand years, Victor replied, “Rust will eat them…”.  And while some basic rust-prevention should keep your Handpan in tip-top condition for the foreseeable future, ultimately, time will most-likely prove him right.

And with summer still lingering, should you be looking for an interesting book to read on the plane, by the pool, or simply curled up in your favourite chair.  In the interests of “Knowing thy enemy”, you might do worse than to grab a copy of, Jonathan Waldman’s, “Rust: The Longest War”.  An entertaining “Man Vs Nature” journey into the world of corrosion.  And a real-world analysis of that which has been known as the “Great Destroyer”, and the “Pervasive Menace”...

It is the hidden enemy, the one that challenges the very basis of civilization. This entropic menace destroys cars, fells bridges, sinks ships, sparks house fires, and nearly brought down the Statue of Liberty’s torch. It is rust—and this book, full of wit and insight, disasters and triumphs—is its story.’

>> Find it for sale at Amazon <<


Dr Levi Harrison’s Finger Stretching Exercises - Become A HandPan Playing CHAMPION

Finger-stretching Exercises
In recent times we’ve noticed a number of posts around the interwebs from Handpan players suffering from Hand-pains.  Often from extended-playing.  Performing any particular task repetitively for long periods of time presumably comes with its own risks, and playing Handpan is seemingly no different. Especially if, as some street performers might, you’re playing for periods of 4-5 hours (upwards).

If you were to say to us, “Hey, no pain, no gain…”, you’d find us in agreement.  But even the great Rocky Balboa warmed-up.  And just as Rocky had Mickey Goldmill, we present to you, Dr Levi Harrison, Orthopedic Surgeon, and his hand, finger, and joint stretches - near-guaranteed to bring out your inner Handpan-playing CHAMPION. Primarily intended it seems for Gamers, but - hands-be-hands. And should you find yourself suffering from ill-digits, perhaps this is something that could help to lessen future discomfort...

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