LOOK: Filipino Craftsman-Musician Creates First Philippine-Made Handpan Drum

A Filipino craftsman, musician, and wellness advocate, LJ Navera, has created the first-ever Philippine-made handpan drum—a type of steelpan instrument that is played by striking the rim or center with the hands.

A unique and beautiful musical tool, the handpan drum is a relatively new invention that is believed to have originated in Switzerland before spreading throughout Europe. It’s made up of two half-spheres of high-quality steel that are welded together at the rim, creating a hollow interior. What makes it such a novel instrument is its ethereal and otherworldly sound that’s perfect for mediating and spiritual practices.

LJ, who is also a wellness advocate, had always dreamed of owning his own handpan and was in the process of making one until the pandemic hit the country.

lj navera handpan drum

“My dream started 10 years ago [with] just wanting to have one of my own. Since I am a craftsman I had the opportunity to start building before the pandemic happened,” shared LJ with WhenInManila.com. “I was in the tuning stage already but [then the] pandemic came. [I] had to stop the dream.”

He claimed that making a handpan required a lot of resources which is why it’s too expensive for Filipinos to afford. “The handpan is a very sophisticated and complex instrument and requires time energy dedication and resources,” he added. [That’s why] it was [my] dream to make the handpan accessible to Filipinos. Aside from it is very expensive, shipping cost, taxes, and fees makes it really hard to afford.”

As luck would have it, he was able to continue his passion project when a friend reached out to him about it.

“I surrendered and accepted defeat and would trust the timing of everything. But a month ago, a Russian international artist craftsman reached out and went here. In two weeks time, we were able to craft the first two Philippine made handpans!” LJ said. “Our journey has brought us together sharing vibrations of love, kindness, and compassion.”

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Watch the video below:

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