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Playing Real Good For Free

In Seville, Spain, we came across a street musician “playing real good for free,” as Joni Mitchell would say. He was playing a percussion instrument we’d never seen before. So after he was finished, and we’d tipped his jar and asked him about it.

The musician’s name was Fadi and his instrument is called the “Hang.” The Hang is made of two half-shells of steel glued together leaving a hollow inside to reverberate with the beautiful sound the instrument makes. The top has a center note hammered into the middle and seven or eight other tone fields hammered with different degrees of thickness to make the graduated musical notes that the player selects as he’s playing. It reminds me a bit of a steel drum. The term “Hang” is evidently derived from the Swiss German word  for “hand.” Imir said they are built in Switzerland and there are not many of them in the world. We did find a number of Hang items on Amazon including drums and DVDs.

We love music and one of the delights of roaming the world on our circumnavigation is stumbling upon musicians like Imir, playing his Hang and singing soulfully. It turned out he had emigrated from North Africa and was making a new life in Spain. Unemployment has been high in Spain so he teaches when he can and plays for tips on the crowded streets of this popular town in southwest Spain.
After hearing Fadi play, I looked for more on YouTube. Here’s a great duet of two Hang players: It turns out that one Hang player, Daniel Waples, has become quite well known. Daniel’s website is HanginBalance.

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