The Gu’ Band - Showcasing the Pang Instruments of PANArt

We featured the Gu’ Band briefly in a post we published earlier in the year titled, Gamelan, and the Pang Orchestra - which discussed the connection between the instruments/sound-sculptures of PANArt (the Hang makers), and the Gamelan instruments of Indonesia.  

And while PANArt themselves may have moved on somewhat from their original Hang design (which would become the prototype for the entire Handpan instrument-type), it’s natural that most fans of the Handpan should have an at least partial interest in what the parents of the Handpan are up to, and putting out, with each subsequent new addition to the Pang family of sound-sculptures.  And as it turns out, one of the best ways of doing this, is by following the activities of the musical ensemble going by the name of "Gu’ Band".  An outfit that features exclusively the Pang instruments of PANArt.  And primarily the newer Pang instruments, such as the Hang Bal, Hang Gudu, and Gubal...

The unprecedented access that the Gu' Band appear to have to PANArt's complete range of next-generation Pang instruments suggests that PANArt themselves could be involved in some manner with the project.  Or at the very least, have given it their blessing.  And in addition to featuring PANArt's next generation percussive instruments, and the original Hang, the Gu' Band are the only place we've yet to see in use (other than PANArt's own videos) the stringed Pang Sui, Pang Sai, and Pang Sei...

You can hear more from the Gu' Band over at YouTube: HERE.  Or find them at Facebook: HERE

Fixing Broken PANArt Hang (and Other Handpan) - With Blesspan

When towards the end of 2011 PANArt withdrew their previous offer of re-tuning, and maintenance work for their earlier Hang instruments (anything prior to the Free Integral Hang if we remember correctly, though certainly for first, and second generation Hanghang) thousands of Hang owners suddenly found themselves with nowhere to turn, should their Instrument (sound-sculpture) become detuned, or fall foul to some other tragedy.  

And while very few things these days come with any kind of life-time warranty, with the ability to tune Hang, and/or Handpan, being an especially rare skill (particularly at the time), to say it was a godsend, when some of the newer makers began to extend offers to pick-up where PANArt had left off, and provide tuning services for the Handpan’s earliest Swiss incarnations, would be underselling it.  And one of the first to officially offer maintenance work for Hang in need (and other Handpan) was Italian Handpan maker, Tommaso Varriale, of Blesspan.  Who according to the resume on his website, has to date retuned at least thirteen PANArt Hang.  And below you can watch him perform a complete restoration of a first generation PANArt Hang, in Yu Shang Diao tuning...

And while PANArt employee, Micheal Paschko, raised The Ship of Theseus conundrum over at YouTube (now removed) regarding Tommaso’s work - with PANArt no longer offering to re-tune or repair earlier Hang themselves, the argument is essentially moot in this instance.  And of far more use are the videos provided by Tomasso Varriale, of some of his previous work on Hang, to which those in need can listen, and decide for themselves…

You can find more information on the re-tuning services offered by Blesspan: HERE

The MEINL Range of Sonic Energy Harmonic Art Handpan

It has been impossible to move through Handpan-circles this last week without stumbling across talk of German percussion manufacturer and distributor MEINL’s first foray into the Handpan market. Bringing with it renewed talk of the “Yamahang”, a term that has been in use since at least as far back as 2009 (and likely before) to describe the oft-feared-by-many introduction of a mass-produced Handpan, that would with its birth suck all traces of artistic-integrity from the art-form. And force trend-setter types the world over to ditch the now soul-less instrument in numbers - in favour of some other newly discovered and hard to acquire fad.

While for the rest of us, MEINL’s newly introduced range of Handpan represent nothing more than yet another option to be considered under their own merits (or lack thereof depending).

At time of posting MEINL are offering three different sound models / tunings, under the title of “Sonic Energy Harmonic Art Handpan“, each priced at 2.490,00 € (approx $2650), including bag, and protective shell (and you can see how this compares price-wise to a handful of other brands: HERE).

Unfortunately though, there's nothing in the way of audio, or video being offered up by MEINL to demo their new Handpan range over on their site (that we can find). But thanks to YouTube user, borisak, you can at least catch a brief soundcheck of one of the MEINL pans (below).

Arguably more interesting, and relevant to MEINL's newly offered range of Handpan, than the whole YamaHang debate (which has been levied against at least half a dozen other "non-conforming" Handpan operations over the years), is the origin of these particular instruments.  Because while these may be a new offering from MEINL, Colombian Handpan makers, "Harmonic Art", who appear to be producing these on MEINL's behalf, are certainly no new entity to the world of Handpan.

And while some might consider Harmonic Art's own past to be among the most controversial and checkered in Handpan history, their instruments have certainly shown considerable improvement since their earliest days.  And with sound-samples for the MEINL range of Handpan being thin on the ground at time of posting.  Should you be considering purchase - you might do well to take a listen to some of Harmonic Art's own videos (below).  In order to gain a more thorough idea of approximately what it is that you might be spending your money on. And/or possibly even grab yourself a better deal by purchasing directly from the makers (though it's worth pointing out that when purchasing the MEINL range through distributor Thomann you receive a thirty day money back guarantee, and a three year warranty, which may, or may not be offered when purchasing directly)...

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