The Handpan Meets the Water Drums - With AKI-RA Sunrise

Custom-made water drum available for sale at ETSY
Flowing onward from our last post regarding the effects the sounds of the Handpan may have upon the water molecules that in part make up your being, we visit the work of AKI-RA, and the fortuitous meeting of the Handpan, and the water-drum...

Instruments of the “membranophone” family, water drums are usually constructed from wood, clay, or gourds - though water drum made of metals such as iron, brass, and copper, are also fairly common - and the chamber of the drum is filled with water, or some other kind of liquid, to create their unique resonant sound. As can be heard and seen in the particularly interesting water drum set-up of the Japanese percussionist, Aki-Ra Sunrise...



One interesting aspect of the water drums of Aki-Ra, in the video above, uploaded five years ago, back when Hang/Handpan were much newer, and hence far more difficult to acquire - is the way in which the metallic bowled water drums have been shaped DIY-style into a Handpan-esque form, in order to create different tones.

During those dark days of high-demand and extremely limited-supply, many creative types explored numerous ways of attempting to recreate the sounds, or playing-style of the Handpan, in a more budget-friendly manner. From the Hank drums of Dennis Havlena (and other interesting homemade instruments), and the homemade electronic Handpan substitutes of Al Martino. Through to the more recent addition of the soda-pop bottle Hang-drums, of Edward Black Rose. And while we can't say with certainty, perhaps the early water drum setup of Aki-Ra; was also a product of those times.

What we can say with absolute certainty however, is that five years later, Aki-Ra is still very much playing water drum, and in fact, his kit has even evolved to include even more mini-handpan type water drums. In addition to which, we can finally witness the water drums of Aki-Ra Sunrise, paired with a honest-and-kosher Handpan - with beautiful results...



And before moving on, you can listen to one final performance from Aki-Ra on one of his self-made Handpan-style-hybrid-water-drums, or "Hadouram", below...



To catch more from Aki-Ra Sunrise, you can find him over at his official website: HERE.

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