In order to learn what a Handpan is, it is important to know the history of this instrument. In 2001, a new acoustic instrument was created in Bern, Switzerland. This instrument was developed by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer after years of research into a new material called Pang. This material was intended to help further the evolution of the steel drum from Trinidad, which was PANart’s primary interest. PANart coincidentally stumbled upon the form which became the Hang. The Hang has its roots in the steeldrum, ghatam (India), Udu (North Africa), Gamelan (Indonesia), and several other world instruments. With the creation of this instrument, the Hang, PANart left their focus with the steel drum to pursue this heavenly new instrument.
Fast forward a few years and there are now several makers throughout the world creating instruments inspired by the PANart Hang. Some of the newer makers include Pantheon Steel (USA), Bellart (Spain), Saraz (USA), SPB (Russia), and AsaChan (Switzerland). With the development of these new creations came a new name, the Handpan. Other names for this instrument include Pantam, Hang Drum, etc. There is not yet a universally accepted term to call these instruments. Makers like PANart don’t want their creation to be called a Hang Drum or a Handpan. Bellart insists that their instruments are not Handpans. The term came from US maker, Pantheon Steel, and has started to grow in its use. Whatever you choose to call them, have fun!
Jeremy discovered the Handpan around 2008 after stumbling on this youtube video of Brazilian artist Pedro Collares playing in Barcelona. The discovery of this video and instrument would forever change the direction of his life, as it did with many others. The instrument and its beautiful vibration has a way of capturing the heart. It has an ancient, yet familiar sound. Many often mistake it for an instrument of Eastern origins, like India or Asia, and would never guess it is a modern instrument. The sound is captivating and mesmerizing. Jeremy has dedicated his life to the exploration of this instrument. It has become his primary tool of expression, and he has shared it around the world.
Jeremy has recorded two albums featuring the sounds of the Handpan. His latest album, Journeys: Handpan Solo features 15 songs of the Handpan on its own, to showcase the possiblities of the instrument in its context as a solo instrument. The songs are the stories and experiences from Jeremy’s travels around the world, from the bustling Cityscapes of Australia’s cities to the ancient Temples of Bagan in Myanmar, Southeast Asia. On this album, Jeremy plays the Halo by Pantheon Steel and Bellart BElls.