Handpan Makers United
Advocates for protection and cultivation of the global tuned steel community through spread of truthful information, collaboration, camaraderie and free creative expression within the Handpan Art form.
Welcome to Handpan Makers United, an organization created to protect the integrity, fellowship, and security of our beloved young art form.
Handpan Makers United was founded to offer a foundation of trustworthy and truthful information about every aspect of this art form. We seek to share history, disseminate helpful building practices, and to develop and share news within our industry.
We have joined forces for the greater good.
In the early 2000s, Swiss instrument maker PANArt Hangbau AG introduced a new hand-played instrument form to the world, which they named the Hang. The Hang was a culmination of years of research into new manufacturing methods of the Trinidadian steelpan and only two people in the world made them.
By word of mouth and the viral power of YouTube, interest and love of the Hang spread. In 2007, PANArt hence published a paper, which concluded that it was impossible for their company to satisfy relentlessly growing demand and stated the world needed more instrument makers. They voiced the hope that others would accept the challenging quest of learning to make such instruments.
Ten years later, the call has been answered and we are in a golden age of creativity. We are witnessing a renaissance of the global steel tuning culture which predominantly originated in Trinidad & Tobago. Literally hundreds of inspired artisans have taken PANArt’s statement of fact to heart and new voices are emerging all of the time.
Everywhere around the world, people are learning to shape and tune instruments of their own. Some call their creation a handpan while others call it a pantam or cupola. Some seek to master and perfect traditional forms of creation while others choose to push the instrument form into new territories.
What unites us is a shared vision: to bring more magical life-transforming vessels into the world.
- We believe each handpan, pantam, sound sculpture, and cupola built with integrity is making this world a better place.
- We believe in a culture of camaraderie rooted in makers communicating, encouraging and helping one another.
- We believe in this passionate community of open-hearted players and enthusiasts, who have welcomed strangers into their homes, lives and families.
- We believe this art form has created a new family, one with the handpan as its centerpiece.
- And we believe the interconnection of these virtues both makes and confirms the handpan’s unique power.
In building our instruments, we stand upon the shoulders of giants that date back thousands of years to the creators of gongs and especially to the triumphant steelpan inventors of Trinidad & Tobago in the 20th century.
Handpan Makers United was founded to ensure the open and healthy growth of this art form for many more generations to come.
“I always knew in my heart one day that my work would find its way. I could not tell you how. There was no one there for me, to show the way, but I figured it out. I figured it all through for all of you to see today.”
– Ellie Mannette
“Further collaboration between art and science is needed to make it possible that other hang makers may exist in the future.”
“It was evident that the originators did not want their trademarked name to be used as a generic term so one had to be invented. Since the mother art form of Steelpan originated in Trinidad & Tobago, I respectfully sought to include the word ‘pan’. Since it is played by ‘hand’ it seemed quite obvious that we should call it a ‘Handpan’.”
– Kyle Cox