FuturePoi - Smart Poi by MoodHoops

While this website is primarily dedicated to the world of Handpan, from time-to-time, we’ll use the tenuous connection of Handpan music being featured in a video to post about something a little more diverse, as we have in the past on such topics as rock-balancing, and intuitive painting.  And while the following video we stumbled across yesterday at YouTube is fairly short, if like us, you’re the kind of person who could happily spend an entire evening staring at the ever-changing visage conjured up by the illuminated bubbling mass of a lava-lamp, perhaps you too will find fascination with the “”Visual Hang Drum” demonstration of LindzeePoi, created using a new technological take on the classic art of Poi, using a device known as FuturePoi

It is likely that many of our visitors will be familiar with Poi, a performance art that involves swinging tethered weights through a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns.  But FuturePoi, really does add a new dimension to the art-form, utilising LED to generate psychedelic visualizations and detailed images in full blown color.

And if proof were needed that the sounds of the Handpan, and FuturePoi, go hand-in-hand, we did not have to click through many related videos to find yet another FuturePoi’ster, demonstrating their skills (and devices) to the sounds of singing-steel (though this time featuring a similar device named "Visual Poi")...

Find FuturePoi for sale over at the MoodHoops ETSY store: HERE

The Living Room sESSions - with Echo Sound Sculpture

In the earliest days of this website, back when Handpan makers were few-and-far between, we were lucky enough to catch the earliest offerings of Swiss Handpan maker, Ezahn Bueraheng, of Echo Sound Sculptures, being tentatively showcased over at YouTube.  And since those early days it has been quite the journey.  With the instruments of ESS becoming ever more refined with each passing year.  And ever more sought after.

And while unfortunately we can do little to assist you in the acquisition of a Handpan made by Ezahn, other than by recommending that you subscribe to their official Facebook page, and keep an eye-open for updates towards that end.  We can point you towards some really nice examples of the instruments of Echo Sound Sculptures in action, in the form of the Living Room sESSions. Intimate performances held, and recorded at ESS’s own studio facilities, located in Lenzburg...

'Since we moved into our own EchoSoundSculpture facilities in Lenzburg, there was the vision to offer a platform for musicians and handpan lovers, to use this space for informal performances and workshops – and obviously the chance to connect with other musicians and handpan lovers. On selected Saturdays our workshop place in Lenzburg becomes a melting point of creativity, personal and musical exchange: At midday we start with a Jam Session, where everybody is invited to bring their instruments and inspiring ideas – Snacks are available as well as a bunch of AsaChans in different scales, that can be tried out. These days always end with an intimate concert of an international performer.' - From the ESS website.

Catch more from the Living Room sESSions over at YouTube HERE, or find more information over at the ESS website HERE.

How to Clean your Handpan

South Africa based Handpan-makers, PAN INC, recently made a post to their Facebook wall stating: ‘Did you know, it's very important to clean your pan regularly? - A dirty pan will cause rust, which will effect the sound of your pan..’.  Which coincides nicely with a useful instructional video on the subject by YouTube user Mark D’Ambrosio, which you can watch and learn from below.  

Because while the majority of Handpan owners at this point are probably aware of the importance of protecting their instruments from rust by applying some form of anti-corrosion treatment from time-to-time, if you’re a little bit on the lazy side like us here at HPM, the importance of giving your Handpan a full and decent scrub-down periodically, might be one of those things that you choose to overlook (or perhaps were genuinely unaware of)…

TokTone Drums - by Dave’s Island Instruments

Over the years Dave’s Island Instruments have proven themselves to be innovators within the world of Handpan.  They were the first (that we knew of) to produce an “Electric Handpan”, and would later bring us the “Ohm Handpan” - a hybrid Handpan / steel tongue drum instrument.  And now, once again, the guys at Dave’s Island Instruments bring us something new, in the from of “TokTones Drums”.  

What are TokTones Drums?  That’s a good question.  In their introductory e-mail DII’s even seem unsure themselves, leading with the question: ‘Handpan, Steel Drum, or Tongue Drum - What is it?’.  And if they themselves aren’t sure, here at HPM, we certainly aren’t...

They look like Handpan shells that have had tone-field templates pressed outwards, to form drum-head like membranes.  But is using the correct-sized tone-field template for the geometry of the Handpan shell enough to create a loosely tuned note?  Or have they undergone rough tuning, but not fine-tuning?  Or a different form of tuning altogether? This is really just thinking aloud, but with DII’s stating that the TokTone Drums will cost considerably less than an actual Handpan, presumably there is considerably less work involved in their production.  And while not unpleasant, for our tastes, the sound is definitely lacking when compared to a bona-fide Handpan (though arguably just different). But if the price is right (unknown at time of posting) they could make for an interesting alternative to the Steel Tongue Drum as an entry-level instrument to the world of UFO-shaped singing-steel, or of course, be of interest to those in search of new sounds to experiment with...

TokTone drums combine elements of antique steel drums, handpan designs and scales, and interesting metallic overtones. They also have a hint of an Indonesian gamelan tone.’ - from Dave’s Island Instruments

PAN INC - Handpan South Africa

If you’ve heard of the Tzevaot brand of Handpan, then you’ve by-the-by heard of the instruments of PAN INC. - the South-Africa based manufacturers of Handpan, and Steel Pan.  Because while Tzevaot have been among the most well placed Handpan-brands within the market in recent years, it has been known for some time now that Tzevaot are not Handpan makers themselves, in the traditional sense, but are instead distributors, or facilitators, and the instruments that they distribute are, primarily, if not exclusively, produced by the PAN INC team.   With PAN INC stating via their Facebook page: ‘For orders outside of Africa, please visit our official stockists, Tzevaot'.  However, should you be based in South Africa, it appears that you can go straight to the source, and make your purchase directly from PAN INC themselves.

What does a PAN INC Handpan sound like?  Just take a listen to any Tzevaot video and you’ll have your answer.  And while there are no actual prices listed on their Facebook page, presumably you’ll be able to save yourself a little cash via this route - should you be Africa-based.

And to end this post we’ll leave you with a video from Italian composer, Gioli, who has been racking up millions of views over at Facebook with her recent videos featuring her PAN INC / Tzevaot Handpan…

For more information visit PAN INC over at Facebook HERE

GoPro Goes Handpan - Hands-Free Handpan Recording

While the GoPro brand of action cameras might be primarily focused on the sports market, showcasing downhill mountain bikers, snowboarders, and their ilk, the benefits of the GoPro’s convenient hands-free usage, and unique recording perspective, has not been lost on Handpan players also.  With an increasing number of Handpan videos recorded using the head-mounted camcorder system finding their way onto YouTube in recent times.  And particularly for travelling Handpan musicians, the GoPro’s ease of use, in terms of capturing decent quality footage on-the-fly, can lead to some truly memorable footage.  As can be found evident in the “travelling Handpan” recordings of the ZuMusic Project…

Forget trying to balance your smartphone on its arse-end in attempt to get a decent angle, or messing around with tripods and the like for those more professional, and simply strap a GoPro on, and you’re away.  And convenience aside, as mentioned above, there is something more personal about the perspective achieved utilising a camera like the GoPro.  A Handpan-view panorama.  A musical head-(or chest) mounted snapshot.  Whether recorded at home (particularly useful for the camera shy).  Or in India, Thailand, Australia, everywhere inbetween, and beyond…

Find GoPro for sale at Amazon: HERE.  Or Visit the ZuMusic Project over at YouTube: HERE for more travelling Handpan footage.

The Birth of the India-Made Handpan? - Shellopan Visit Goa

Over the last few years we’ve witnessed new Handpan makers popping up all over the globe, but to date, news of much going on in India, one of the most populated countries on the planet, has been very quiet (though that’s not to say that things haven’t been happening out there off of our radar).

Back in early 2016 We published a short post featuring the the “FabLab”, of French Handpan-makers, Shellopan.  A collaborative-kind of Handpan-building establishment designed for the sharing of knowledge, and resources, based in Strasbourg, France.  That in addition to providing the blank canvases from which Handpan are made, Handpan shells, to makers the world over - have also made moves to assist a new generation of makers down the right path on their home-front.  And with the following video we see that in addition to providing help to new tuners closer to home, Shellopan have also been sharing their knowledge and materials abroad, during a recent visit to India to attend the Handpan India Gathering 2017, held in Goa.  A visit that just might give birth to some pretty special India-born instruments making their way into the scene in future days…

‘Made with 10 hands during a maker and apprentice workshop in Goa.’ - YouTube Description

'Shellopan is a cooperative for the manufacture of metal musical instruments of the Handpan / Pantam family and located in Strasbourg (France).  Cooperative, because we are a collective, we defend the principles of self-management and believe that the sharing of information and the means of production are vectors of progress.’ - from the Shellopan website

Two New Online Handpan Schools - Paid Handpan Tutorials

A good number of people reaching this website, do so in search of Handpan lessons, and tutorials.  And while we frequently share videos of that nature that pop-up on YouTube, and have in the past made note of tutorial DVDs, and SKYPE lessons.  A recent addition to the Handpan world, for those seeking instruction for improving their skills, comes in the form of the online Handpan school, or course.  Two of which you can find information on below.

Master the Handpan - by David Charrier

Masterthehandpan.com is the brain-child of popular Handpan musician, David Charrier.  And judging by Facebook chatter and the like, the website has already proven to be popular with new and seasoned Handpan musicians alike.  David Charrier was among the first wave of Hang musicians to gain real YouTube popularity as one-half of the Hang-playing duo, Keona, back when the instrument type really was something new.  Placing him among the most seasoned Handpan performers in the scene.  And with his Master the Handpan website offering video tutorials from beginner exercises, through to those more complex - if you’re looking for something considerably more structured than what you are likely to find on Youtube for free, with an instructor who has both performed, and taught, all over the world, this is something that you’ll definitely want to take a look at.  And that’s not even mentioning the custom-created (we presume) notation-type visual display that accompanies each tutorial, that teaches you exactly what is being played, and how. that we found to be be pretty effective...

Play Pantam - by Ortal Pelleg

While thanks to David Charrier’s firm grasp of promotion, plus some great user feedback, Masterthehandpan.com has quickly become the Handpan course currently in the limelight, around the same time the above online resource was announced, another seasoned Handpan musician also launched a similar online Handpan school.  In the form of Playpantam.com.

Put together by Handpan musician, Ortal Pelleg, and utilising the name that was commonly used for the Instrument type during the early years of the Hang, in Israel, “Pantam”, playpantam.com is another fee-based resource comprised of video Handpan tutorials.  And while playpantam.com was released with very little in the way of promotion, and lacks some of the polish of David Charrier’s tutorials, price wise, with a base price of $14.99, compared to the $129 fee charged for accessing masterthehandpan.com, playpantam.com, particularly if you’re looking for some budget-minded Handpan instruction, might be something that you’ll want to go take a look at...

Check out Playpantam.com

Handpan Buying Guide and Advice

What Are Handpan?

The Handpan was born in the year 2000 in Bern, Switzerland, in the form of the “Hang”, a hand-played UFO-shaped steel instrument, created by Hang Makers Felix Rohner, and Sabina
Schärer, as the company known as “PANArt”.

PANArt Hang were produced from the year 2000, to 2013, when PANArt announced the retirement of the Hang, and their intention to work on new projects. Which would come to include the Gubal, and other instruments made of their patented material known as “Pang”.

Around 2007 the first “Hang inspired instruments” began to hit the market.  Counting among them the Caisa, the BElls, the Halo, the Bali, and the Spacedrum. And at time of writing, just sixteen years after the birth of the Hang, and three years after its retirement, we have added the names of well over one hundred Handpan makers, to our Handpan makers list.  And we continue to discover and add new makers frequently.

Where Can I Buy a Handpan?

It is widely believed that the best way to purchase a Handpan, when and if possible, is directly from the maker.  So if you haven’t already, we encourage you to wade through our list of makers, including the “more” section (because with so many Handpan makers having appeared in recent times, we haven’t yet gotten around to creating proper pages for many of the newer makers).  

Other avenues to purchasing a Handpan include many of the online sales portals that you’ll most likely already be familiar with, such as , ETSY, and Amazon.  In the past these platforms have mainly dealt with the sales of used /secondhand Handpan, and “prototype” instruments (of varying quality), but with more and more makers appearing on the scene, makers of various levels are beginning to turn to platforms such as these to gain the competitive edge, and increased exposure they bring - as supply begins to balance out with demand. So whether for used, or new Handpan, it can be worth taking a look to see what's out there.

Which Handpan Should I Buy?

All Handpan players and fanatics have their own personal favourites, and in addition to researching the offerings of different makers, one of the most important aspects a person searching for their first Handpan should probably take into consideration, are different "sound-models".

Sound-models (also often called "scale", or "tuning") refer to the particular configuration of notes tuned into any given Handpan. With the standard Handpan typically featuring around eight or nine notes (though some feature more or less) the sound-model is essentially a limited, or simplified scale, made up of complimentary notes. And varying sound-models can bestow upon any given Handpan a very different "flavour", from that of any other. And the following video offers a nice introduction to the differing sounds of a small selection of different makes, and sound-models/scales of Handpan...

And In terms of researching different makes, and sound-models further, we’ve always found YouTube, and a decent pair of headphones/speakers to be our most reliable, and unbiased friend in the search for a suitable Handpan. And at this point in time there are hundreds of thousands of Handpan videos over on the platform, uploaded by makers and players both.  So it’s worth investing at least a little time exploring the different options available to you, to get some idea of what kind of sound you might be looking for.  

How Much Does a Handpan Cost?

While ultimately any given Handpan costs what it costs, in the current climate, other than rare items (such as original PANArt Hang) sold at auction, and other exceptional Handpan, you should expect to pay somewhere between $1000-$3000 for your instrument (as a general guideline).

And as a side note, when considering the overall cost of purchasing a Handpan, particularly from a country or union other than that in which you reside, you’ll want to calculate in possible delivery costs, import duty, and taxes to your purchasing budget.  As these can add to the total cost considerably.

While it’s not always the case (no pun intended), if your Handpan is being shipped, many makers will insist that alongside your Handpan, a protective case is also purchased.  And while this obviously again adds to the overall cost of obtaining a Handpan, if you are unable to collect your instrument in person, they do make for a worthwhile investment. And a Handpan case always makes for a recommended purchase regardless - because despite being hammered from steel, Handpan are surprisingly fragile instruments, and any knock, or prang, can seriously de-tune your Handpan. So in general, a protective case should be considered to be a necessity, rather than a luxury (though it should be noted at this point that for long term storage, keeping a Handpan in a closed/zipped-up bag/case is widely considered to be a bad idea, as humidity build-up often leads to increased oxidation/rusting).

Rust Protection

Other than a protective case of some kind, the only other necessary bit of kit you’ll need for your Handpan (assuming that your Handpan is not built from Stainless Steel - which some are these days), is some kind of rust-prevention treatment.  The majority of Handpan can, will, and do rust, if left to their own devices.  But the occasional application of a substance such as FrogLube, or Ballistol (two proven Handpan anti-rust treatments) should keep your instrument in tip-top condition.

Two New Handpan Specific Anti-Corrosion Treatments Hit the Market

While the U.S. produced “FrogLube”, and the Germany-made “Ballistol”, have arguably earned themselves the reputation of being the two most tried-and-tested general-purpose anti-corrosion treatments to have been adopted by Handpan musicians looking to protect their beloved instruments - recent months have seen several new “Handpan-specific” anti-rust offerings hit the market, in the form of the currently community-embraced, “Phoenix Handpan Oil”, and the even more recently announced, “Antiox SD”.  

Phoenix Handpan Oil

The first product from the guys going by the name of “Phoenix Handpan Care”, Phoenix Handpan Oil has caught a fair amount of chatter in the months following its release.  And already there are a number of positive reviews to be found online, and Handpan performers of note backing the product.  

And while some of this early championing could be down to networking, and the core Handpan community taking care of its own. With the couple behind Phoenix Handpan Oil both being players themselves, they are obviously well-positioned to know what makes for a good Handpan care product.

And in terms of cost, the price point is competitive, particularly if you’re not keen (as some aren’t) on the slightly-stinky (but cheaper than FrogLube here in Europe) Ballistol.  So if you fancy giving a new product that has been designed specifically with the Handpan in mind a go, you can visit Phoenix Handpan Care over at their website HERE, for more info.  And if you’ve used it and like it, feel free to drop a recommendation or review in the comments section below.

Antiox SD Anti Corrosive Handpan Oil

Another recently announced product targeted specifically at the Handpan care market is Antiox SD Anti Corrosive Handpan Oil, from the guys at Handpan Shell.  Being very new to market (announced just this week at time of posting) we currently know little to nothing about this product, but include it in this post due to the nature of its purpose, and its lower price point, compared to the Phoenix Handpan Oil.  Presenting another option for those looking to protect their pans from the ever dreaded threat of rusting.  You can find more information on Antiox SD over at Facebook HERE.  And as above, if you’ve used the product, or intend to give it a try, and can spare a few moments to drop a recommendation or review in the comments section below, please feel free to do so...
© HandPans Magazine