HANDPAN & DIDGERIDOO: the inevitable marriage !

This is an inevitable encounter that I have experienced and still experiences today: the encounter of two paradoxically opposite and complementary instruments at the same time.

As the saying goes : it is often the opposites who attract each other !

But first, let’s take a little historical tour of these instruments which represent for me the vital elements of our beautiful planet :

The didgeridoo : if you are reading this subject, it is that you necessarily know a little about the history of this ancestral instrument which has existed for more than 20,000 years. Otherwise, I invite you to read this page which will tell you more about the didgeridoo : https://www.didgeridoo-didjaman.fr/the-great-history-of-didgeridoo-and-terra-australis/

The HandPan : this instrument with celestial and luminous sounds, was born in Switzerland in the year 2000. The creators are FELIX ROHNER and SABRINA SCHÄRER. In 1976, Félix Rohner had a sort of click while listening to a Trinidad orchestra in the streets of Bern. Then he teamed up with Sabrina Schärer to give a name to create the brand “HANG“. This will cause slight confusion over time, suggesting that the instrument is called the Hang. History to date has seen emerging manufacturers bring a common name which will be HANDPAN. Respecting and thus avoiding all legal confrontations with Félix and Sabrina.

It should also be understood that the test phase is very important to launch an instrument on the market. This is the chance that the great percussionist STEVE SHEHAN was able to develop the sounds of the Handpan with Felix and Sabrina.

To learn more about the origin and history of the HandPan, I invite you to read this Wikipedia page : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handpan

Why this inevitable marriage ?

The marriage of its 2 instruments is made by sound and is inevitably the first evidence. The suave and telluric sound of the didgeridoo has touched a good number of people for several decades… notably with the band JAMIROQUAÏ, who had given us a rather pleasant introduction with his song “When you gonna learn” in 1993 at Sony Music, and who was already launching an alert on illogical human behavior. Then will follow the Olympic Games of the year 2000 in Sydney and the biggest world festival of didgeridoo “Le Rêve de l’Aborigène” (created by the French player of didgeridoo Sylvestre Soleil) who will participate in a real highlighting of the Didgeridoo around the world.

The Handpan emits very harmonic sounds that personally make me think of something spatial, from beyond. Like rays of sunshine crossing the clouds. So I think that the musical meeting between its two sound worlds was logical and essential. Like the meeting of two to be united by love… and which cannot be explained. The feminine and the masculine finally united.

The second important point of this marriage is visual. The Didgeridoo is a rather phallic instrument in its form, and you can often observe the player fidgeting with his instrument… a bit like a man making love.

The Handpan has a round shape like a fetus or a UFO, and the player has rather a calm and calm attitude when he plays his instrument… which reminds me of women in general. The man gestures and the woman is a flower that we pick… a natural law in a way.

Music bands to advise you ?

Of course ! Because the sound association did not wait long to give birth to magnificent groups around the world. I would cite a few groups like : KOSMOZ, 3KEYS, OLOJI, WADHOM, MATSUMOTO, JEREMY NATTAGH, YATAO, WAAGAL, EOLYA, GUITOTI etc…

With the observation and the historical perspective of the didgeridoo, we realize that with the events that the HandPan world is currently experiencing, it follows the same route, the history and the evolution that the didgeridoo has experienced over time: with its pioneers like the players KLAÏM, DAVID CHARRIER etc. This has enabled CEDRIC PLA, another French (decidedly !) To create the HANDPAN FESTIVAL in 2014, and which will become the world’s largest HandPan festival in just a few years. To believe that we have beautiful ideas in our hexagon… it feels good !

I would like to play and create a group of HandPan and Didgeridoo, but I don’t know which instrument to choose ?

Here are some tips for aspiring musicians and music lovers :

  1. Do not hurry… let yourself soak up existing bands by listening to their records and watching their music on Youtube… and your choice of instrument will be done naturally with the feeling.

  2. Buy yourself a quality instrument, because it is not the lack of manufacturers that will be lacking today… you have plenty of choice! Ask Google… he’s your friend…

  3. Take the time to train… so take classes ! Professional players have struggled before you and in your place. So leave your hippy side thinking that self-study will get you where you want to go, because these professionals have implemented effective methods that will allow you to move forward more quickly and save months of hassle and self-taught faults… it’s in your hands, it’s up to you!

  4. Once again I recommend meeting other people who have the same attractions as you. It will help you to share and evolve… and do not hesitate to move, it is part of the history of the musician. I don’t know of a single group that has never done a kilometer and that has succeeded in its basement.

  5. Expose yourself ! Expose yourself ! Expose yourself ! It will only do you good. So run after the live, a performance in front of a real audience. You will get a full recharge of mental battery… especially when people come to see you to thank you for the happiness and the discovery that you have given them ! What a joy to see their eyes shine…

Jérémy Nattagh @ Handpan Festival

Comment puis-je voir ces groupes et quels sont les festivals où ils jouent ?

Et bien il vous faudra bouger maintenant… et j’ai hâte de voir de nouveaux groupes et de nouvelles têtes sur les scènes de nos fabuleux festivals, donc je citerai les suivants :

En France, nous avons quelques festivals officiels qui défendent cette approche du mélange des cultures… les voici :

HANDPANAME : le festival parisien qui se déroulera le 15 et 16 Mai 2020 => https://www.facebook.com/Handpaname/

HANDPAN FESTIVAL : le festival de la région de Béziers qui se déroulera le 26, 27 et 28 Juin 2020=> https://www.festivalhandpan.com/

HANDPANALA : le festival Alsacien qui se déroulera le 29, 30 et 31 Mai 2020 => https://www.facebook.com/Handpanala-610889672719396/

ETE NOMADE : le festival de la forêt d’Orient qui se déroule au début du mois de Juillet => https://www.facebook.com/EteNomadeConventionHangDidg/

NOMADIDGE : le festival de la région de la Rochelle qui se déroulera  le 28, 29 et 30 Août 2020 => http://nomadidge.fr/

L’ARBRE QUI MARCHE : le festival qui se déroule à Saint-Martin-du-Bois, entre le Mans et Nantes vers la mi-Août =>https://www.larbrequimarche.asso.fr/

LE RÊVE DE L’ABORIGENE => le festival de la région des Deux-Sèvres qui se déroulera  le 24, 25 et 26 Juillet 2020 => https://www.facebook.com/lerevedelaborigene/

Comme vous pouvez le constater, les festivals ne manquent pas pour y découvrir et voir ces 2 mondes musicaux se rencontrer… c’est plutôt cool. De plus je vous y invite fortement car vous vivrez un moment unique… une sorte de bulle dans laquelle on peut mettre nos petits tracas de côté, et décompresser totalement !


The HandPan is made of metal. The didgeridoo is made of wood. Two elements that our planet gives us. It’s up to us to use them wisely and make good use of them … which I have no doubt when I see and discuss with all these beautiful people who make, play and create events devoted to the meeting of its two complementary worlds, and for our happiness !

Bravo… keep going guys !

For the other bands mixing the didgeridoo and the handpan, I invite you to talk about yourself in the comments… because here we love the discoveries!