He grew up fascinated with different sounds and beats. He is forever drumming on different pieces of furniture going so far as to clap his hands while walking. That is Bengaluru-based Muki Sablania, the handpan artist, who rose to fame three years ago when his percussive melodies on the pan became a rage on YouTube. Performing under the name of Aparamparagata, which means unconventional in Sanskrit, Muki says “I play on many musical instruments, all created from things found at home as we could not afford grand instruments. After making a guitar and a cricket bat, hand-crafting instruments became my USP,” laughs Muki, who will play at The Quad by BLR, Kempegowda International Airport (KIAL) this weekend.
At concerts, Muki plays on two or even three handpans simultaneously. Describing the instrument, Muki says, “Internationally handpans are made of steel, they have strong harmonics and a sonorous tone. The inverted Swiss steelpan made of carbon steel is both a melodic and percussive instrument.”
The self-taught Muki says his set-list at concerts depends on the audience and venue. “Since it is a versatile instrument, I could either play groovy, percussive phrases for people to shake a leg; or go meditative at a yoga camp.”
At KIAL, Muki will be merging handpan with digital sounds. “The crowd will get a glimpse of my unconventional collaborative exercises.”
Describing how he fabricated the unusual instrument, Muki says, “I was born and brought up in New Delhi. I studied Fine Arts at the Rajasthan School of Arts. I quit my advertising job in 2013 when it seemed enough for me. My friend showed me a video of an Englishman, Daniel Waples, playing the handpan and I was mesmerised.”
Muki spent the next year researching the handpan. He tried making one at home using an LPG cylinder. It was more like a tongue drum and not what he wanted, he says. One of his recordings on the tongue drum posted on his Facebook attracted the attention of Sursak, a handpan maker from Thailand, who made different kinds of handpans for Muki thereon.
“I moved to Bengaluru in 2015. In the last three years I used handpans from France and the UK and also perform along with sitar and sarangi artistes, apart from artistes from other genre,” says Muki who has been part of several international festivals in Rajasthan, Chikamagalur and Hampi.
Muki Sablania (Aparamparagata) will perform on handpan on May 18 at 7.30 pm at The Quad by BLR, KIAL. Entry free.