Our First Handpan Gondola Session, Featuring Philippe Gagné

I’ve wanted to record a handpan on the gondola from the start. The instrument produces sound that is hard to describe, but it is fragile, eerie, and captivating. It has a certain allure to it that makes it hard to deny. The resonance of the instrument lends itself well to being played (and recorded) outdoors, but, uh, we met up with Philippe Gagné and put one in a gondola. For your handpan in nature video, you’ll have to check out this one on a snowy mountainside.

I am not sure when or where the instrument’s association with nature begins, but you tend to see handpan music pop up a lot in yoga studios, in mountain towns, and in other communities where people tend to care about the environment. Which I find slightly odd, as the handpan is such an industrial looking and modern instrument. Then again, maybe there are other circles of handpan players of which I am not aware.

I find this irony of sorts similar to that of mountain gondolas. The ones that we have filmed on are in natural mountainous settings, and they climb mountains in a very industrial and modern way. Though there are many arguments for the environmental benefits of cable cars & gondolas, it’s hard to ignore this nature meets industrial irony here. Especially when we’re filming mostly acoustic music, and have people singing songs concerning nature and the environment. Perhaps the two best examples are Gipsy Moon’s “These Mountains” or The Delta Saints performing “Paradise.” Enough rambling, let’s listen to some music.

Philippe Gagné Gondola Session Videos

We teamed up with Ridgway, Colorado company Panji Bags to get Philippe Gagné on the Telluride Gondola. The company makes eco-friendly hard shell handpan cases, making it pretty easy to take the instrument on a hike.

Philippe kicked things off with this great double handpan and harmonica cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

“Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers Cover)

The second song that we recorded with Gangé is an original instrumental from his 2016 release Somnium | Tempus | Insomnium.

“À la Dérive”

Another Philippe Gagné Video

Philippe has a few other videos on his own YouTube channel that do a good job of showcasing his talent and sound. Here is “Toka,” another song of his featuring 2 handpans and harmonica.

Philippe Gagné Plays “Toka”

Thanks for checking out these Philippe Gagné sessions, and hope you enjoyed the handpan on the gondola!
-John