What looks like an elegant flying saucer, sounds like a more melodious cousin of the steel pan drum, and is the first new musical instrument of the 21st century?
Give up? It’s the latest member of the idiophone family, the hang — spelled h-a-n-g and pronounced "hong."
Invented in Bern, Switzerland in 2000 by veteran steel pan makers FELIX ROHNER and SABINA SCHÄRER, hang means "hand" in the Bernese Swiss German dialect. After several generations of intense development, it's become a highly refined instrument tuned to a pentatonic minor scale and played…with the hands.
The hang has become something of a phenomenon among the worldwide community of resonant percussionists, and you're about to hear why. On this transmission of HEARTS of SPACE, we ride the warm, harmonic tones of the hang on a delightfully hypnotic journey called HANG GLIDING. (Sorry, couldn't resist).
Music is by ALAN TOWER from MUSIC FOR ANIMALS; the centerpiece of the program is three extended contemplative improvisations for hang, electric guitar and loops by Sicilian-born musician LAURA INSERRA and ambient guitarist DARREN GIBBS, from MUSICAL INCENSE, VOLUMES ONE and TWO; and at the end of our journey, music for multiple steel pans and steel pan and dilruba (an Indian stringed instrument) by Germany's gift to contemplative world music, STEPHAN MICUS — from TO THE EVENING CHILD.
A rhythmelodic journey for resonant steel: HANG GLIDING…on this edition…of Hearts of Space.