I first heard about a relatively new musical instrument called a hang in 2010 (I think it was) when by chance I came across Storia, a street musician who was busking in one of the quieter parts of the South Bank. I was captivated by the sound and since then I have read much about the hang (and the other instruments inspired by it, often known as handpans and steel tongue drums) and sought out the music of many fine players.
Like many people, I hope that one fine day, a “top shelf” handpan will find its way to me but while I wait, with the help and generosity of Jimmy and Gillian, makers of the Kool Drum, I am blessed to have acquired a 2011 prototype of their Nova steel tongue drum, in the Hijaz tuning. Even after such a short time getting to know it, I can already feel the joyful and healing effect of “singing steel” and look forward to continuing my musical and spiritual journey in the years ahead.
From the Kool Drum website:
The kool drum is a steel tongue drum, also known as a tank drum or hank drum.
The kool drum has been designed and developed by Jimmy James, a sound engineer with 40 years experience in music and acoustics. He was inspired by an idea published by Dennis Havlena, who wanted to produce an alternative to the hang drum, (a hand pan made by PANArt of Switzerland), by building an instrument from a gas bottle.
In three years, we’ve made over 150 classic kool drums and sent them to 15 countries. We now use new steel blanks to ensure a uniformity of sound. As ideas come along and our passion grows we continue to develop and evolve our kool drums, the latest innovation being the nova, nine notes, laid out more like a hand pan (Hang, Halo, SPB, etc) and with selected tunings that have inspired us.