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Hang Insomniac Jam

Read the story behind the video that got more than 4 million views...

In the Spring of 2008, my cousin David Charrier and I decided to visit Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, the inventors of the Hang, in Switzerland. The year before, I had purchased my own Hang as a second-hand instrument in a music shop in Lyon, France (read story here).

While my interest in the Hang dated back a few years, I had never had a chance to visit its makers. And since it was only a few hours' drive from France, David and I made a weekend trip out of it. We had coordinated our stay with Felix via email and could hardly wait to be there! Not only would we meet with the inventors of this beautiful new acoustic instrument that captivated our every moment but we also knew that we'd be staying overnight at the Hanghaus... a small cabin in the woods where the Hang was actually invented!

Within hours, we got to Bern, Switzerland. After driving through the old city, we then entered the industrial area by a forest contouring the Aare river. The small cabin in the woods slowly appeared on the right side, close to the river... It seemed out of place next to an electric power plant and other random industrial buildings. Nonetheless, we had arrived at the Hanghaus (which means for the House of the Hang in german).

The "other random industrial buildings" were actually PANArt's new workshop and offices, we later found out while chatting with Felix and Sabina. The cabin—the Hanghaus—was now only used for small gatherings or to host the occasional visitor. That's where we would sleep for night... Well, actually, that's where David and I would play Hang all night and record the video Hang Insomniac Jam.

But let's go back for a sec. We had just met Felix and Sabina! The inventors, makers, geniuses behind the Hang! Being in their presence and conversing with them felt like a privilege. Our evening with them was lovely. We had dinner outside on their patio and asked them a million questions.

The next day, Felix would retune David's and my Hang. This was partly why we had come in the first place. But when the evening was over, David and I were just way too excited to simply go to bed. So, we returned to the Hanghaus where we would spend the night, and started jamming. We must have played for hours that night, and I think it was the very first time that we realized we'd be playing together for years. It was the beginning of something. Something that brought us all over Europe and even to the USA. Something that would become some of the most exciting years of my life. And it all started there, on a sleepless night at the House of the Hang.

This is the story behind Hang Insomniac Jam. Both our Hanghang (plural for Hang) got retuned the following day, and we drove back to France. Over the following years, we played a thousand more times together but I will never forget the Hang Insomniac Jam.

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