Handpan street musician in Naxos, Greece
While I was on vacation in Greece with my dearest friends for a 10-year reunion since meeting in Amsterdam together, one night Bianca and I went exploring up the Naxos town towards the castle. There under a quiet corridor sat a hippy-looking guy playing a large steel pan with dents in it. Bianca encouraged me to talk to him and ask about the instrument since there was no one else around, but I was too embarrassed. Then from nowhere, tourists started coming from every direction, so I missed my chance, so I sat down and started listening. In fact, he played very rhythmically and mathematically with the sensation of improvising. I really liked it and somehow it was the happy medium between dance chimes and sound bowls used for meditation. After recording a sound clip, I left some coins, thanked him and left. Bianca told me that I should buy such an instrument.
From that moment on, for the next 24 hours I became obsessed about the instrument, called 'handpan'. It was invented in 2000 by two Swiss, and the instrument was originally called 'Hang'. A few years ago they stopped making it due to the demand and with the principle that they did not want to mass produce them, so they started to focus on new instruments. Now, the 'handpan' instruments are selling for around 1800 EUR and the demand is much greater than the number of instruments being made. Looks like I wouldn't be getting my hands on the pan anytime soon.
The next evening, Bianca and I went on a hunt to find the guy again, so I could ask him questions. While we were making our way towards the castle, we saw him playing in the open, near the restaurant with beautiful terraces where we had eaten the day before. Coincidentally, after one song, he started wrapping up. Again, I thanked him and he recognised us from the previous night. Then I asked about the instrument and he, Jeremie, told us his story. He had 2 handpans, one in D minor and one in C# minor (both with 10 tones, one for the white keys and one for the black) and waited 2 years for them.
At the end, I asked him if I could try his handpan out, and so there I was, playing a new instrument, and the very beginning of my handpan journey!
UPDATE: 29 October 2017
I found the guy on YouTube! Crazy but he just uploaded a video 2 days ago I decided to try to find him. I searched 'handpan naxos' hoping to find him, and I did! His name is Jeremie and goes by the name of Chief of Nothing. I also found out there will be a Handpan gathering/festival in Naxos 25-29 May 2018. More about that here: http://hona.verbindliche-improvisation.de/
His instrument is an Omana (HP) D minor 9 (9 tones and 1 ding)