Lyrics and vocals: Felix Rohner – Hang Bal, Hang Godo, Hang Gede: PANArt Pangensemble – Video: Basil Rohner
In remembrance of my grandfather who during my school holydays let me be a part of his daily work as a sheet metal worker, I dedicate this song to all sheet metal sound workers around the world.
The hammer is for me a symbol of creativity. Tubal, mentioned in the old testament, is the patriarch of the forgers. Sheet metal sound sculptors have not such a patriarch. Their art is post-industrial like the photography.
The new art was introduced and developed by the tuners of Trinidad and it is hardly to be put into the categories of the western culture. The art of tuning sheet metal or pang sheet demands certainly not the spirit of copying, but instant creation out of privation.
The Hammer Never Dies
A pan came over the ocean,
Full of rhythm, spirit emotion,
It looked like a belly – so lazy!
O man, sounded nice – I got so crazy!
It didn’t come from the USA,
Not from Russia, China, took another way:
Sixty-six years ago,
A beat on a washing machine,
Or on an empty revolver magazine:
This all is trash
And people buy it for simple cash.
Try to tune a piece of metal sheet.
Bend and twist it, use head, hands and feet.
You will realize: high skills you need:
Fine ears, hard neck, little fear and the right beat.
To build singing bowls is not our job.
Try it, you realize, it’s maybe a good business, but a flop.
The Tibetan bowls’ sounds last long
Like the bells, chimes and the Gong.
The only thing the sheet sound can bring
Is a pulse, an intense and short ring.
Thin sheet demands the best shapes
Avoid machine pressed domes and plates.
Look at the human body and you will see,
Organic and dynamic your art should be.
Do we shape the metal just for fun?
Are we drunk of sound? What must be done?
Do we need another musical ground, a new sound?
While electronic sounds are everywhere around?
I think we should listen to the hammer blows:
That way constantly our vision grows.
Tune your sculpture, shape your life,
Give clarity, pulse and kick,
It is more than a mirror, bring out the best,
Your Gods will grant you the missing rest.
Control harshness, chaos and harmony.
Do it with dedication and empathy.
You will see the neighbor’s dancing,
You will hear the children’s singing.
At least you are grounded, embedded, connected
And the best: you are respected.
Let’ s move forward, step by step.
A robot can’ t tune, it has to be said!
Let’ s be sincere, less lies,
The hammer never dies.