BUSKER: Henry Shanks with his unique Hand Pan bringing a new flavour to the sites and sounds of downtown Byron Bay.
BUSKER: Henry Shanks with his unique Hand Pan bringing a new flavour to the sites and sounds of downtown Byron Bay.

New sounds on the Byron streetscape

IN BYRON Bay we love our buskers dearly.

But it is possible to have too many guitar players, murdering your favourite tune right there in front of you on Jonson St.

So it's refreshing to hear the gentle sounds of a brand new instrument, the Hand Pan, adding some sweet originality to the musical streetscape.

The Hand Pan is shaped like a UFO and New Zealand born, Henry Shanks sits gently tapping on the tuned surfaces with his fingers producing a dreamy Caribbean sound.

For music boffins out there, Henry's pan is tuned to a D minor harmonic and it produces a sound like a Jamaican steel drum.

The instrument was first developed in 2001 in Switzerland and Henry's was made in Germany and cost him $2,500.

"People really respond to the sound of it," he said.

"Guitar is really my passion, but you need to do something pretty amazing to stand out when you play on the street."

"There are only about 8 people making them in the world."

Henry originally trained as a chef but got sick of the long hours and bad pay.

He is currently living in Goonengerry and busking his way up the coast to Cairns.


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