When I was six-years old, my parents took my brother and I on a vacation to the Mediterranean Sea. I grew up in Lyon, France which is close to the Alps but it's far from the Sea so this was memorable.
At night time, there was a kind of farmers' market setup along the boardwalk. I remember booths where you could buy these really cool fluorescent pins — at least, cool to a six-year old, ha! There were artists selling their paintings and... there were African percussion instruments!
I became obsessed with a little djembe, and what my parents did next (without knowing it) allowed me to develop a passion for music at a young age... They bought me this very cheap and simple instrument — and apparently regretted it on the drive back home, as I wouldn't stop banging on it, ha!
Over the years, I outgrew that little djembe and upgraded to a better one. Music was becoming an ever-expanding part of my life. Already, it was opening possibilities.
Then in 2004, one of my cousins told me about a new melodic percussion he had just got. The name didn't stick immediately but I think he called it a "Hang". Well, soon after, he played it for me... and I fell in love with this instrument! That same night, I dreamed about it all night and when I woke up the next day, I was on a quest to get one.
If you know anything about this instrument you know I'm not the only person to have had this kind of reaction. You also know that the Hang was quite rare in those years.
Oh, and I mentioned my cousin; his name is David Charrier (of Master the Handpan). During part of 2006, David was so generous to lend me his 1st generation Hang in Pentatonic F Major (I still remember that bright yellow bag). And finally in 2007, I was able to acquire my Hang.
Much of what gives life meaning stems from accidents, interruptions, and serendipitous encounters. In other words, it's the “off time”. It happens when you're not looking for it and it can change your life...