Monday, October 15, 2012

Continuing My Handpan Journey

It's been quite a number of months since I got that oh-so-large crate containing my first handpan from Chris of Bali Steel.  Since then, Chris and company were gracious enough to sell me a second handpan without me having to wait at the end of the queue for another year.  I heard that demand for even their handpans is growing and the wait is longer than a year now.

I have largely been immersed in hand percussions; gigging heavily with my three bands, SunDownMuse, J.O.E. (The JR Oca Experience), and Jack Versus the Crab.  Between work and gigs, I haven't really found the time and inspiration to give my two handpans some love and explore their soundscapes.  Oddly enough, I've stopped playing Diablo 3 for a while along with disengaging myself in certain unhealthy/expensive activities.  This gave me the time to focus on my handpans a little more.  I've made a total of 4 videos playing simple compositions of my own.  Two which, I will share with you today.

I can't, by any stretch, consider myself a handpan musician quite yet.  I watch videos from the likes of many great handpan players.  There are quite a few of them out there. Manu DelagoDaniel WaplesColin FoulkeDavid Kuckhermann, and David Swarup are but just a few that I follow online these days.  Watching their videos just makes me cringe at how inexperienced I am with my own handpans.  And as I have with percussions, I end up inventing a style of playing that is not really the norm with handpans.

I do find solace in a small handpan community in forums.  They are a very warm and hospitable community regardless of handpan skill level.  They continually remind me that handpans really do not have an established way of how to play it.  That I am still free to explore and find my own sound and melodies.

That handpan community praised me for being the first in the Philippines that has sprouted up online with handpans.  I relish that fact everyday.  So in order to stay ahead of the pack here in Manila.  I am slightly pressuring myself to be gig ready soon.  The owner of this place in Malate called "TheBar@1951", known to most as "Penguin", has already invited me twice to jam at this bar with the likes of Noli Aurillo and Brujo Ritmo.  I've been declining his invitations only because I feel I need to get better at handpan playing.  I plan to debut my handpan playing at The Keg, Fort Strip, where my SunDownMuse bandmate Gigo and I have been playing acoustic sets.  Next month, I'm hoping to have practiced enough to play a few compositions of mine in front of a crowd at The Keg.  I'm not quite sure how people will react to my playing.  But I suppose, the first time will be very telling.

I ordered David Kuckhermann/Colin Foulke's handpan tutorial DVD a few weeks ago.  And I'm expecting it to arrive some time soon.  Just watching one of the teaser videos of the tutorial DVD, I was already able to pick up the pattern that David was teaching.  I was excited at the fact that I was able to pick it up easily.  My next handpan video will contain that pattern along with other patterns that I have derived from it.  I will post it on my YouTube channel soon.

So practicing, learning, and hopefully eventually gigging with my handpans.  I've never done a solo gig ever.  But I might as well give it a shot.  This has been one of the only sources of happiness I have these days, especially when I'm alone with my thoughts.  But I'm excited to find out where all this takes me.

And the journey continues...


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