For a while the handpan became the hipster instrument of choice, at least it did in my part of the world, the ukulele having fallen out of fashion, just like the banjo and mandolin before it, before being allowed to return to its quiet, sonic folk pastures. So it was an absolute thrill to find the latest album from Lewa in the review pile, not only a glorious and tasteful handpan player but someone who knows how to combine it into song and composition, rather than just use it to show off in Vegan cafes to a room full of yogurt drinking, fold-up bike riding, social media marketing consultants.
D Ecstasy is a glorious collection of songs, running from numbers which put the handpan front and centre such as on Idilio to more folk inspired songs such as Hidden, dynamic and every changing tracks woven through with Celtic-infused violin riffs which sweep and soar around the gentle core of the song.
It is this dynamic between such rousing folk tones, classical grace and the mellifluous, oriental vibes of the main instrument which creates the album’s unique and masterful sound. Poniente is a melancholic and drifting piece of pure emotive beauty and the final number, Ingrávida, which, I believe translates to Weightless, is suitably delicate and transient in its feeling.
D Ecstasy is a gorgeous album and Lewa is a fantastic musician, it’s as simple as that. Not only does it highlight the beauty and ethereal qualities of the handpan, it explores where it can fit in to the existing western sound palette too. It is music which crosses genres or perhaps just exists in one entirely of its own making and which should be essential listening in every household. It is perfect for the after work de-stress, to accompany a late evening glass of wine or for Sunday morning relaxation. What ever the situation, it can’t help but be improved by such beguiling and graceful music. Buy it now…