If you see the instrument one would think that it was formed from the design of the traditional steelpan of Trinidad and Tobago. Indeed, the idea was born out of a study of the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. The World has taken note of the national instrument and have come up with another creation but this time it was not done by Trinidadians but creative people who saw the potential of the steelpan and took it to a different level of musical creativity. My first impression after listening to the instrument was that it sounded like someone tuning a traditional steelpan. However, if you go to YouTube you can find some really interesting 'playjng or drumming' with this relatively new instrument (hand-drum).
The Hang (pronounced "hung") has been called 'The Musical Flying Saucer' comes from Bern, Switzerland and is the creation of Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt limited. Now everyone knows that the word 'pan' is used to reference the steelpan in Trinidad and 'back in the day' they used the term 'beat pan' when referring to playing the pan. The company name used for the Hang references the word Pan (PANArt) and the sound from the instrument is obtained by 'beating' the tonal area with the bare hand.
The Swiss innovators studied the steelpan and other instruments from around the world including the Gong, Gamelan, Ghatam, drums, Bells and Singing Saw before innovating and coming up with this unique saucer 'pan design'. The word 'HANG' is Burmese for hand and not surprisingly the instrument is played using your hands.
The instrument looks like a pan turned upside down and reminds me of watching Boogsie playing the steelpan upside down. However, 'The Hang' consists of two hemispheres of steel fused together is a unique fashion and is played using bare hands instead of 'pan sticks'. One side (top) is called the 'DING Side' while the bottom area (vented in the middle) is called the 'GU Side'. It is used like a drum and is played similarly. The DING side has eight notes tuned to scale while the GU side is designed without notes (one side is played). The sound is similar to the steelpan but different (listen to the sound from the YouTube video provided below).
Here is a clip from the the Wikipedia article "The Hang":
"The Hang uses some of the same physical principles as a steelpan but with a nitrided surface and structural change of having two clamped shells with a small opening so that the instrument is a Helmholtz resonator.The creation of the Hang was the result of many years of research on the steelpan as well as the study of a diverse collection of instruments from around the world such as gongs, gamelan, ghatam, drums and bells.Metallurgical and acoustic research by the makers has led to significant changes and refinement in structure, design, and process over the years since the first Hang was offered."
Here is another reference to the steelpan from the same article but this time about 'Playing the Hang':
"The Hang is typically played resting on the player's lap. The Hang is generally played with the hands and fingers instead of mallets. This lighter playing tends to produce a complex overtone-rich sound that could be considered 'softer' and 'warmer' than the 'bright' sound of a mallet based traditional steelpan."
Here is an example of how 'The Hang' is played and the sound that emanates from the instrument. There are many videos on YouTube regarding 'The Hang'. Go ahead and view some - it is a very interesting instrument.
I recently came across this video clip on YouTube and thought to myself... "Damn what a wonderful idea!" Our Calypsonians have told so many stories in their songs and to have a story book published for the children from a Calypso was long overdue. Just think about the possibilities... Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow have so may Calypsoes that could be made into story books not just for children but also for the adults... There are many funny calypsos that a stories created from them could put a smile on the faces of the adult population.
I really like the feel of this project (Boy Boy and the Magid Drum); just saying the title has a good feel and the music (song magic drum) is just wonderful. Kudos to you Machel, and the publishers who were so creative with this project.
The book was first published in 2009 and rides on the success of the song Magic Drum as its core sales pitch. Having said that I must say the story is a wonderful idea if only because it is 'total local' and ideas that the children could relate to at home. The tale is about Boy Boy who uses the 'magic of music' to change his environment and more importantly his life. What a beautiful thing indeed!
Dip Publishing's own Machel Montano at the re-launch of his book Boy Boy and the Magic Drum at Nigel R Khan Booksellers location at Trincity Mall. Nigel R Khan, the exclusive distributors of this book in Trinidad and Tobago and everything that's Dip!
"Oh gosh fuss ah love meh pan. Beat de pan boi". Hold on now, we don't beat pan anymore ... We play pan now and it takes some real talent to get really good at it! It has been quite a sophisticated instrument for many years now and has moved away from the days when only badjohns were in the panyards. When you hear the sound of pan one has to stop and pay attention. However, for some unknown reason your feet start to tap to the music and your heart and soul is swept away into an ecstasy because of this feeling of panramajay!
I have a recording of 'PANYARD SKETCHES' from Sanch Elextronix Limited that I wish to share with you on this blog. If you want to get a copy of the CD you can do so at the following link: Panyard Sketches
Track number eight was not included since it is an alternate version of track number two. This is sweet pan in yuh pwefen my friend... Just Enjoy the music!
Change has come and it is good... This is the direction|the path to success that pan music and those who engineer it must take. I thoroughly enjoyed this pantastic instrumentation and will look forward for more from these very talented guys! If you liked Deuces by Chris Brown then you will love this Facebook "Status Change"...
Take a look at this very interesting video clip from YouTube. In this clip you will see Boogsie and Invaders doing their thing. Rudolph Walker walks in on the performance to introduce Lord Kitchener. The Maestro of Kaiso simply grooves next to Boogsie. He does not speak or sing but it is a timeless moment captured for us to look back and reminisce about that which was so good and of the things we so took for granted.
Here is the information from provided with the video from YouTube: "In what is considered his last public appearance the Grand Master Lord Kitchener appears with the Mozart of Pan Len Boogsie Sharpe along with the Invaders steel band performing his timeless classic Pan Night & Day at Ringbang Celebration 2000."
Sonatas Steel Orchestra - Three days before 100 Sonatas players take the stage for the 2008 New York Steelband Panorama competition, Basement Recordings captures the defending champions in their yard. This is the slow version of their 2008 panorama offering - "The Ten Commandments of Pan" - a Yohan Popwell arrangement. Sonatas will go on to capture third place in the competition.
Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe is the Michael Jordan of the Steel Pan. He is loved by the masses in Trinidad and Tobago and respected for his pan genius around the World. The following is his biography via the website "Boogsie".
This gift, known to many as "perfect pitch," has taken Boogsie to musical heights only dreamed of. He was awarded the Humming Bird Silver Medal in 1987 and was also named Cultural Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago (as well as David Michael Rudder) in 2000. These are just two of the many awards and honours he has received for his musical excellence.
As a cultural icon in Trinidad and Tobago, pan player, arranger, and composer, Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, is dedicated to bringing music that people from all walks of life can appreciate and enjoy. He channels his musical talents through Phase II Pan Groove.
Led by Boogsie, the three-time panorama champions compete in most of the national steelband competitions throughout the year and are also involved in many shows, entertaining the public of Trinidad and Tobago.
Although Boogsie enters his band to compete in the many competitions, his vision does not involve just winning these competitions. A trophy and prize money are attractive, but what brings true satisfaction to him and the band members is the joy expressed by all followers and supporters of the band and the artform. Even when Phase II comes second or third in a competition, the members all take solace in the fact that the crowd truly enjoyed the music. With thunderous applause and deafening cheers, fans have time and time again expresed their gratitude to the band for bringing them something original and exciting with every new song.
In addition to the competitions, one cannot exclude the many other performances (aka gigs) that the band participates in. For many of these, Boogsie himself is featured. He composes most of the songs played by the band and several of them are geared towards spontaneous musical creation, or improvisation. This is where one gets to hear the true talents of Mr. Sharpe. His hands move with lightning speed as his creative genius pours out of his very soul, into the steelpan and out into the audience in the forms of harmonious cords and melodies. He has been known to splice songs into other songs at times, leaving the crowd in awe.
Boogsie has promised to fulfill his commitment to musical excellence for the people of the nation and the world.
Composer, arranger and steel drum performer from Trinidad, Ray Holman is perhaps the most talented proponent of his art form internationally.
Read the rest of Mr. Ray Holman's biography at this link: Biography
Ray Holman's DISCOGRAPHY
The six-track double CD includes an enhanced data disc featuring the music scores, composer profiles, as well as scorer and editor notes. The project was conceptualised by Mark Loquan, composed and scored by Ray Holman and Dr Jeannine Remy and executed by the UWI ensemble.
In Touch, Ray Holman tells us, reflects his "new-found freedom to explore genres other than steelband panorama music. He conceived the compositions as a combination of pan and tenor sax doubling the melody to create a texture of reed and steel.
Tribute to Ray Holman: Steelbands of Trinidad and Tobago
This compilation of perhaps Holman’s best compositions for the steel band is a must in any collection. From the memorable Pan Woman to the insistent My Band, the CD is almost a biography of Holman’s elegant and lyrical arrangements.
Pan On The Move
The Humboldt Calypso Band
In addition to several of his Panorama tunes, the Humboldt Calypso Band, founded in 1986, performs two original selections composed by Ray Holman during his residency in the band’s home town of Arcata, California. [more]
Reid, Wright & be Happy
Ron Reid, Orville Wright & David "Happy" Williams
This gem of an album features a mellow jazz version of Holman’sPan on the Move. Expertly interpreted, with Ron Reid on pans, Orville Wright on piano and David “Happy” Williams on bass, the tune's lyrical styles shows Holman at his best.
Burnin' Miami University Steel Band
Once again Ray Holman’s music is included on a new release from Ramajay Records featuring the Miami University Steel Band. This latest release contains fresh originals from Holman, Tom Miller and the groups director, Chris Tanner.
Ray Holman joins the Pan Ramajay band both as a performer and composer on its second release. The composition was written specifically for Pan Ramajay, with its special brand of music that the LA Weekly calls "Steel drume excitement."
Pan On The Move
The Chabot Panhandlers
This debut CD of the Chabot Panhandlers features two Ray Holman compositions, Mariella’s Dance and Since You’ve Gone. It also includes a variety of musical styles. The title track is, a Super Blue compositon arranged by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe.
The Chabot Panhandlers
Skillfully performances of six Ray Holman compositions, Steel Band Bacchanal, Sad Song for a Pan Man, Woodbrook Jam, and a medley of three (Sockin’ It With Steel, Pan On The Move, Panyard Vibrations). Jim Munzenrider directs the band and Tom Miller is the producer.
A Special Brew
Steelbands of T&T
This CD is a compilation that features one of Holman’s sweetest panorama compositions, Special Brew, with its slow build of momentum and orchestration. Carib Tokyo gives the composition the dramatic effect it deserves.
Pan Trinbago Inc., is a non-profit body incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago dedicated to the promotion and development of the steelpan and pannists worldwide. The organization has been recognized nationally and internationally for its excellent work spanning several decades and is the holder of the Trinity Cross, Trinidad and Tobago's highest national award. This site will first and foremost keep you abreast of what is happening in the organization and its member bands.
PanTrinbago is a cultural organization which was incorporated by Act of Parliament, 5 of 1986. It formerly operated and was registered as a Union representing the interest of steelpan players. The general membership of the steelband Movement decided that it would better serve their interests in the development and promotion of the steelband, to become incorporated by an Act of Parliament here in Trinidad and Tobago, the birth place of the steelband and the main centre for the propagation of this art form.
This site (Pan Trinbago) unlike another well known pan site www.panonthenet.com aka When Steel Talks deals with the 'nuts and bolts' of the steel pan movement.
Both sites have much to offer with the governing body in Trinidad centered on the development of the instrument and securing the rights of the instrument for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. When Steel Talks (www.panonthenet.com) is an interactive site that features the world wide movement of the steel pan.
Pan Radio is a cool feature of When Steel Talks with pre-recorded shows available for listening. Now if you want to listen to steel pan music 24/7 then you should visit TNT Pan Radio owned and operated by WACK Radio 901Fm.