Danny Cudd first saw the hang being played by a musician on the streets of Barcelona in 2006. Around the same time, Markus “Offbeat” Johansson discovered it at a festival in Slovenia. The two met on the shores of Goa a couple of years later and have been playing music together since 2010. In their videos, the duo, better known as Hang Massive, is seen performing in streets, parks and other public spaces in different parts of the world, trying to catch the attention of the public with an alien instrument that looks like an UFO and sounds like a hybrid of the santoor and the ghatam.
For about six months every year Cudd, who is from Britain, and Offbeat, who is from Sweden, travel across Europe busking and performing at gigs. The rest of the year goes into making new music at their house in a quiet Goan village. “We have spent so much time here that India naturally influences everything that we do,” says Offbeat over an email chat ahead of their tour of India.
Over the years, Cudd and Offbeat have become two of the most recognizable, dedicated practitioners of the hang—two round metal shields joined at the rim—expanding its scope beyond its reputation as a solo instrument. Their first track, Once Again, has 23,128,575 views on YouTube. A lot of their projects,however, are collaborations with other musicians, including their latest, Distant Light.
“It is tricky to record the hang and mix the sound with other instruments but it is something we are very interested in,” says Cudd.
The hang was invented in 2000 by the Swizz “sound sculpture” makers PANArt Hangbau AG. And even though the company has moved on to making more advanced variations of the instrument, Cudd and Offbeat have remained loyal to the original hang.
As the part of their India tour, Hang Massive is performing in Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Imphal on 13, 15, 20 and 22 April, respectively. Click here for details.