How the Handpan Saved My Life


My name is Shlomo Calvo.

I was born and raised on the sunny beaches of Tel Aviv-Israel.

As a kid, my parents encouraged me to take piano classes.

I loved it, and couldn't wait to get home from school each day and play the piano.

As the years passed, I played it less and less and for a while,

I felt like I lost my desire for music.

It was only when I got out of the Israeli army (in Israel everybody has to serve),

that I re-found my love to music.

I still remember that day.

The year was 2005.

I was 21, traveling through India and Thailand. And had no idea what I wanna to do with my life.

Most of my time was spent on partying and dancing to Trance music.

Until one day, I was walking on the beach in goa, India.

Suddenly I heard the most amazing sound I ever heard in my life.

As I kept walking, I noticed a guy sitting by the water and playing a UFO shape like drum.

It was magical.

At that moment, I knew what I wanna do in my life.

Since that day, I dedicated my life to searching for a handpan and a few years later, I bought my first one. My life has changed forever.

In 2012 I moved to the United States.

It has always been my dream to live in this great country and I was so excited about living here.

But I had no job or no savings.

So I decided I am going to play on the street for one hour and see how much money I make.

To my great surprise I made much more money than I even hoped for.

In the next 5 years busking and playing shows have been my only way of living.

I moved to New Orleans and spent a few years there.

I always had that confident that wherever I go I could always get by and have enough means to support myself, as long as I have my handpans with me .

I was lucky enough to play with a few of the best bands in New Orleans.

We played at big bars, smaller venues and amazing festivals.

All of these I could not done without the handpan in my life.

These days i am  living in Madison Wisconsin, working for Isthmus Instruments full time, surrounding myself even more with these beautiful instruments.

This is how handpan saved my life.


Virginia Robinson