Kelly Hutchinson with his Hang
Hanging out with music
What's metal, looks like a UFO and is stirring up a whirlwind of interest in the world music scene? A Hang. BBC Berkshire spoke to Kelly Hutchinson, a music enthusiast who's lucky enough to have one...
Is it a UFO? Is it a plane? Is it a Barbeque? No it's a Hang. "A what?" we hear you cry. You read it correctly... a Hang, though it's pronounced 'Hung'.
You'd also be forgiven for thinking it's a steel drum. However, any similarity it holds with the percussion instrument starts and ends with the material they're both made from.
The sound produced by a Hang is more of a chime and is played using your hands.
Click on the link below to hear Kelly playing his Hang.
It was officially unveiled to the world by PANArt, a Swiss company run by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schaerer at a music conference in 2002.
Since then its popularity has escalated, but getting hold of one is extremely difficult.
The manufacturers currently have a two year waiting list and are only contactable via email or fax.
This is something Berkshire based music enthusiast, Kelly Hutchinson knows all about.
His quest to get hold of one first began in 2004, when he saw a musician in a Dutch band playing the Hang at a Didgeridoo festival in Devon.
After tens of emails, internet searches and two whole years of being strong willed he finally got his hands on a second hand one through the PANArt.
"On occasions I really felt like giving up. I wasn't getting any response from them.
"Mine cost £350 when I bought it in 2006. I then looked on Ebay and saw exactly the same one going for well over £2500," says an astonished Kelly.
Originally they made the Hang in over 30 different scales and sold them all year round. They even having an annual Hang Festival at their workshop in Switzerland.
Due to the Hang being made by only two people, the company now only produces one type called the Integral Hang.
Though the Swiss Hang gathering has since stopped, in 2006 a Hang enthusiast held a mini festival in his own home.
The success was limited due to space constraints and his wife being unimpressed with the noise and influx of people into their home.
Kelly loves playing the Hang, but due to around only 300 being made yearly there's no Hang Club currently operating in Berkshire.
So he decided to join forces with his friend, Rob Watkins and start up their very own Hang festival. In 2007 they put on Hangout UK in Farnham.
"Last year we had people turning up from Austria, Holland and Germany. There was even a guy that came all the way from New Zealand," says Kelly.
This year's turn out is expected to be even better as they've already received tens of enquiries from people in the UK and beyond.
"Hangout UK is not just for Hang players. Everyone is welcome to come. Whether you play that instrument or not".
Kelly adds, "It's about raising awareness of the Hang. It's also an opportunity for people to come try it out.
"They'll be an array of weird and wonderful instruments at the festival including the Indian Flute, Didgeridoo and the Dulcimer ( a medieval style harp)".
If you fancy looking at the pictures from last year's festival or finding out more about the Hang click on the link below:
Listen to a Hang tune which comes highly recommended by Kelly.
last updated: 08/08/2008 at 16:48