The Artisan Instruments tongue drum is a percussion instrument that is incredibly easy to play and makes beautiful music even when played by a beginner. You will be delighted by the ethereal sound and resonance! It is very exciting for a person who has never played an instrument before to be able to immediately make beautiful music playing a tongue drum.
About the Makers
Artisan Instruments officially became a company in March of 2021, but it was conceived in the mind of Kristian Power around six years earlier when he was working at the One World Drum Company as a teacher and technician for West African djembes. His passion for music had started young – at seven years old he pestered his parents until they bought him his first guitar. He performed in talent shows and joined numerous bands as his collection of instruments grew to include djembes, congo drums, flutes, trombones, saxophones, ukuleles, didgeridoos, and every kind of guitar. He loved being on the stage and engaging the audience. A turning point in his story was his first encounter with a handpan (hung drum). Here is the story in his words:
At the drum store (One World Drum Company) I had access to a hand pan which was made by a gentleman from Indonesia and as I began to learn how to play it, I became obsessed with it. I decided I had to own one and I would purchase it from an instrument maker in North Carolina. It just so happens that at the same time the Calgary Stampede was on and a friend came to me and said, “Hey, do you know who is playing at the Calgary Stampede”? And I said, “Who’s that, David”? And he said, “Mr. Daniel Waples is playing”. For those of you who aren't familiar with him, Daniel Waples is one of the original players and travelling musicians of the handpan, which was made by the original makers, PANArt in Switzerland. Of course I went down to the Stampede with my didgeridoo to ask Mr. Waples if I could play with him, and also to enquire about the company he was sponsored by, TerraTonz. In my quest to buy a handpan I was determined to meet with Daniel although he subsequently told me it wasn’t the best time to buy a TerraTonz handpan because the owner’s wife was pregnant and he was the only tuner who was able to tune the instruments. It would be up to 10 months before I could get one, and it would cost $2600 US. Disappointed but not discouraged, I invited Daniel to a Stampede party at my brother’s house that evening. He declined because he was going to Banff the next day to shoot a video. However, later that night he sent me a message and said, “Hey, I know this guy from Montana who has six handpans, one of which he would like to sell. Would you be interested in buying it? He is coming up from Montana tomorrow”? I said, “Wow, that's amazing! I’ll come check it out”!
Two days later I went back to the Stampede with my friend from Japan and we went to see Daniel Waples play once again and after his set we went to the Green Room and sat down with him, and he showed me the handpan that his friend had brought up from Montana. It had been made by PANArt, a maker by the name of Mark who is from Trinidad and Tabago, but now lives in the United Kingdom. The instrument sounded amazing but it was a lot of money, so I told Daniel I would think about it. When we left the Green Room and started walking down the hallway my friend asked me, “Kris, are you going to buy it?”, and I said, “Well what do you think?” and she said, “Oh it sounds so beautiful”! and with that I decided that I would buy it.
Then, In 2017 a friend introduced Kristian to the process of turning a propane tank into a tongue drumwhich has a similar sound and tone to a handpan. The challenge of turning a piece of garbage into a beautiful piece of art that also created gorgeous tones and could be played by anyone took over Kristian’s creative mind. He set to work to figure out the best ways to clean the tanks, cut the tanks, cut the tongues, weld the shells, apply a sturdy and beautiful finish, and tune and tune again to achieve the best tone and resonance. With every batch of drums, he has improved his techniques and systems to make the drums better and now, five years later, the Singing Steel Drum is the flagship instrument for Artisan Instruments.
What scales are available?
How to play a tongue drum
You can play your drum with either the supplied mallets or your fingers and thumbs. To play with your fingers, strike the drum quickly as though the steel were very hot. Have fun, experiment, and use your imagination to discover your own technique - there is no right or wrong way to play.
The notes are laid out on each of the drums so that you can create a most beautiful melody by starting at the bottom and alternating right and left hands as you go around the instrument. You can also play a beautiful tune by moving around the instrument in a circular manner.
Watch a video that I made while out in the forest. I offer a few different ideas to create your own tunes.
Are you looking for a model or scale not listed on our website? No problem. We can custom order a drum for you.