“DING in BALANCE” – the 1st Handpan Gathering/Festival in China – a little review……


“China is different from different” – if i had to reduce my experience of this china trip to just one sentence, it would be this one. I can say that I am very experienced in traveling – but China has amazed me a lot. But not only to laugh and be amazed, but also to anger and to simply “can not understand” what’s going on in this country . But thats an other (long and also sad) story.

Here, with this post, i just want give a little review about the DING in BALANCE – the first chinese Handpan Gathering and Festival held in Dali, a city near the border to Laos. And its just my personal point of view i publish here….

Dali is beautiful. Tropical climate on 2000m sealevel with a view to the peaks of 5000m high Mountains.
The region is characterized by the minority of the Bai, which are reminiscent of the Laotian tribes and have very little in common with the classical conception of China. Great streetfood, friendly faces, lots of colors and beautiful markets – thats what makes this place likeable.

The organizers of the Hanpan Event, Vivian and Leo, two chinese Handpan Makers, did everything they could do, to give “us europeans” who have been there, a confortable stay. Since china is really different – it was hard for them to deal with all the changes that happened almost every hour and made it hard, to do propper plannings. But at the end, with united forces, all worked.

Many things in china are totally different to the western world – but the Handpan Community (at the event there have been around 200 participators from all over in china) is quite similar. They are enthusiastic, open and very interested. I have met many really great characters and some of the people i have met are now new friends.

The workshops offered were more than just busy – and a real challenge for those who led them. Everything has to be translated (99.9% of Chinese do not speak English). And teaching 40 students, 39 of whom film everything with their smartphone and each have a different scale on the handpan, is quite a challange ……

The concerts were great – although the preparations were often very chaotic. At the end it has always worked quite well. The only thing that seems strange to us is that almost all visitors permanently have the mobile phone in their hands, filming everything.

In summary, the trip to China was a great experience that I do not want to miss. What I noticed very nicely was that in china many children are handpan-crazy. And, that the Chinese handpan manufacturers are not different to the “western ones”. They make good and others not so good instruments (very good and “high end quality” i have not found there). So relax guys, even in china there is no machine making 1000 instruments a day. Pantams are made, wherever, by hand from real people – in this case, china is not different at all 🙂


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