Hybrid instrument mesmerises

RARE FIND: 2018 open microphone winner Andrew Jackman creating mesmerising sounds on his unique instrument, the hang.
RARE FIND: 2018 open microphone winner Andrew Jackman creating mesmerising sounds on his unique instrument, the hang.

AFTER falling in love with a unique instrument in France some years ago, owner Andrew Jackman has introduced its therapeutic sounds to Penola, playing to an intrigued audience during this year’s Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival.

“The hang” is an instrument designed by Swiss engineers and influenced by many percussive instruments from across the world.

“Its an amalgamation of instruments which make a lot of noise and it has turned into a very interesting hybrid instrument,” Mr Jackman said.

Playing the hang, Mr Jackman received first place in the festival’s open microphone competition.

However, discovering the hang did not come easily for Mr Jackman, who searched extensively to find the instrument which played the stunning sounds he had once heard in France.

“I was first drawn to it when I was travelling in France with my wife in 2014 and we happened to be walking down this beautiful cobblestone street as you do in Paris,” he said.

“I just heard the most amazing beautiful sound coming through the air.”

Intrigued by the stunning music, Mr Jackman wandered closer to where it was coming from.

“I then discovered a young lad who was perched on the ground, playing the instrument between his knees,” he said.

After returning to Australia, Mr Jackman went to a few music shops to try and find the instrument.

“After going into various stores, people had said they heard about it, but were unable to get any in,” Mr Jackman said.

A year later, Mr Jackman and his wife travelled to Canada.

“We were there for a family visit and in Vancouver we happened to be down in this trendy place called Granville Island,” Mr Jackman said.

“My wife wandered into this tiny little music shop – which was chocablock full of instruments.”

Mr Jackman said he initially was not interested in going into the store, so he waited outside.

“The next thing I know my wife is gesturing me to come in,” he said.

“She pointed up and there it was, the hang I had been searching for.”

The pair instantly knew they had to bring it home with them to Australia.

“The people working at the music store were also freaking out they had actually sold one,” Mr Jackman said.

Then came the question as to how the pair would bring the instrument home.

“It came with a bag which made it easier and we may of had to sweet talk the air hostesses and stewards,” Mr Jackman said.

“But they were very good about it, they stored it in their lockers and it fitted in the overhead luggage area.”

Mr Jackman said he was able to get the instrument all the way back unscathed.

The music lover taught himself to play the instrument.

“It is a really unique instrument because whatever sort of notes you hit – they all coordinate,” he said.

The instrument is only ever played at Mr Jackman’s home, apart from the exception of its debut at the competition at Heyward’s Royal Oak Hotel.

“My kids encouraged me to play it that night, it is only ever used as a personal and private hobby,” he said.

“It was the first time I had entered the competition and I think I only won because it was something completely different.”

Mr Jackman said he loved playing the hang and will continue to create new sounds.