The Community Mixtapes — A Call For All Handpan Players!

The Community Mixtapes project unites the global handpan community for Handpan Day 2023

We’re excited to delve deeper into our new project, The Community Mixtapes. The project is meant to celebrate the growing handpan community by creating something big and beautiful together with everyone. Our most ambitious initiative so far invites all handpan players to share their unique music, facilitating collaboration, learning, and inspiration across cultural and geographical boundaries.

Future Rust has previously released several curated handpan music compilations, and we’re set to continue this year. However, for this Handpan Day, we’re extending the opportunity to have their music promoted widely to everyone!

Prominent handpan educators join the project

The handpan culture has evolved dramatically over two decades, growing into a thriving community of builders and players. Two prominent online handpan educators, David Charrier from Master The Handpan and David Kuckhermann from Handpan Dojo, shared their insights on this transformation.

Charrier expressed nostalgia and excitement for the impending changes. “You know, I feel like there is a comet coming. I feel nostalgic”, he said. “I’m excited and nostalgic at the same time. A lot is going to change. Some things we are going to lose, but at the same time new things will come.”

Kuckhermann emphasized the de-mystification of the instrument. “Today, the instruments are more available. Owning a handpan doesn’t anymore make you a part of a small elite group of people, who actually managed to get an instrument somewhere.”

He also celebrated the joy of playing as the magnetic force within the community: “I love the enthusiasm and the love that people have for this instrument, but I never connected with the extreme mystification of the instrument. The pure joy of playing is the main wonderful unique thing in this community.”

Handpan Day: Celebrating community power

Handpan Day, first launched in 2019, is a global celebration of the handpan set for October 7th this year. A key goal of The Community Mixtapes project is to fuel anticipation for the festival.

Lauri Wuolio, the founder of the original Handpan Day and Future Rust, envisions the Community Mixtapes as an inclusive event that unites the entire handpan scene. Both Charrier and Kuckhermann strongly support the project for its unity-building potential and the learning opportunities it offers.

“First of all, it’s a really nice challenge for yourself if you haven’t composed or recorded music before”, David K said.

“Recording is like taking a photo of a moment in your life. And then you can come back to it later and see how you have been evolving. It’s a great exercise!” David C said.

Beginning with composing and recording

If you’re new to composing and recording, don’t worry! We discussed several composing strategies and recording tips on our video. We’ve also consolidated these tips into a straightforward set of rules to help everyone get started, regardless of their skill level or how long they have been playing.

Composing a song in 30 seconds

Here’s a quick and efficient composing method adapted from Kuckhermann and Charrier:

  1. Choose a chord progression for parts A and B.
  2. Decide on a rhythm to apply to these chords.
  3. Add some transition notes for a smooth shift from part A to part B.
  4. Repeat sections A and B, using the transition notes to join them. (For more variation and more complex composition, you can experiment with other structures, such as ABABCB, or ABCBA.)

Recording a song

Here are some basic recording tips:

  1. Choose a space with good acoustics and minimal background noise. Remember: microphones hear every sound around them! If there’s a roadwork outside the window, it will be on the recording. If a beetle crawls on top of the mic, we will hear its tiny footsteps.
  2. Conduct a sound check with your phone or recorder placed about one meter from the handpan. Check if there’s a “high quality audio” setting on your device for the best possible sound quality. Remember to point the microphones directly towards the instrument! Make a test recording. If you like the sound, you’re good to go!
  3. Finally, you can fine-tune the recording using an audio editor software for trimming and sound enhancements or effects. For a very simple mastering solution, there are online mastering services — there’s even one available directly on Soundcloud that you can test for free.

Submit your track by July 31st, 2023!

Ready to submit? Go to Soundcloud, create a free account, and upload your track with the tag #FutureRustCommunityMixtapes. After July 31st, 2023, we can’t ensure your track will be added to the playlists.

Watch our full video

Our full video discussion is available below, featuring more on The Community Mixtapes project and our plans for upcoming summer handpan gatherings and festivals.

We’re genuinely excited about the potential of The Community Mixtapes project. We trust this collaboration will enrich the diversity within the handpan community and foster unity among its global members!