Fourth Handpan series

by Birgit Pestal (2019)

BAKER Handpan Series – Archive  (2019)

baker-handpan-panlab1BAKER #SN1 

Scale: C# Kurd

workingtitle: “Brahim”





baker-handpan-panlab-vienna-2BAKER #SN2

Scale: C# Kurd

workingtitle: “Akio”






Scale: C# Kurd

workingtitle: “Stellina”





fis-handpan-doppeloktave-wienBAKER #SN4  

Scale: F# Moll

workingtitle: “Janot”






please look at the german section of this site:



Compared to earlier series (RUMIDIOTIMA  und BINGEN) some tools or workingstations have been renewed, replaced or changed. Also there is some different steel-material by now waiting to be tuned at PAN LAB – the challenge will be to include them into this serieswork and create diversity within. This means first time materialspecifics are not a criteria of key importance (btw.: all of this material is either not nitrided or nitrided in a way so it can not infringe any Patent). A Pan has to meet high expectations to join this series, meaning in terms of quality and also allover ‘look and feel’. Otherwise it will be labeled a Prototype.

Anyway most of the soundsculptures will look quite similar and will come in the colors of blue and black.

People who buy handpans at PAN LAB Vienna can ask for a private tour through the Lab and learn more about the building process.

PAN LAB Soundsculptures from the series BAKER are branded with a label inside, including scale info, printed on a paper with quite nice vintage-look.

Terms & conditions

We are very thankful that you are attracted by the quality of the Pans made at PAN LAB! Anyway it is important for you to understand that handpan-making is a relativly fresh handicraft in europe and also btw. has no formal reglementation in austria (like for instance the violine building). There are of course certain ‘inofficial’ standards and it seems PAN LAB Pans overall can meet this standards well. This means that also other tuners should be able to retune our pans.

Please note:  I cannot guarantee the stability of the tuned notes. It is only experience over the last 3 years from which i can honestly say that i think they will be very stable and as an prospective buyer you will have to agree on that risk.  It is a sensitive topic – but as well is tuning of a note. It will be maybe an important quality criteria for handpans in future also, if a form of maintenance is provided.

I do recommend to have a look at the instrument after a year or two. The suggested prices for a tuning service is €50-200,- and was arranged with free donation base so far.  I would be of course very happy to be able to provide tuning service for free – but one really has to have a look at each case when time comes. So far experience is very good and also never a note was lost during tuningservices. Anyway I can not take any risks for loosing notes during tuningservices. A stressfree atmosphere for high quality tuning is key.

In a ‘best practice-sense’ i very much like to offer free tuningservice in case you want to sell your instrument!



People on the waitinglist are informed once their desired instrument is about to be build and again as soon as it is ready. At the moment the waitinglist is still closed. Please drop a mail at in case you want to get informed shortly before the waitinglist opens again. There are only few slots on the waitinglist to keep waitingtime as short as possible (goal: maximum 10 weeks). We do not accept pre-payment. Also there is no pressure for buying as soon as your pan has been build (exception for highly customized orders). This is of course only possible thanks to your many requests.


Pick Up at Vienna

We love to meet the future players of our instruments in person – and also provide tours for them through the making-workshop.


Shipping (EU)

Thanks for your many international requests.

The idea of and buying an music instrument without ever holding it in your hands before- this idea is just not very much supported at PAN LAB.

Anyway we make exceptions for instutitions that we want to support (like e.g. a hospital or a school, etc.) and persons who are honest, reliable and by heart want to support PAN LAB Vienna by buying handpans from us.

Price: Including Hardcase, Insurance, Packaging: about €450,- incl. tax (EU only)


Josephine Baker

This artwork series is dedicated to a personality, who stands for the integrative power of music and as well for something hilghly political:  equality, antiracism, struggle for freedom, overcoming from mundane exoticism and presumptions. She is considered an “icon of emancipation” and as well counts to be the “first black superstar”. In Paris 1925 she gained publicity through the “Revue Negre”. She established the “Jazz hot” und reached international fame, while France was ‘infected’ by american Jazz  (source). 1927 she earned more money then any other entertainer in europe.

As a dancer she also counts as the bearer of “Charleston” to europe. At the beginning of her career – as a black woman wearing a banana-dress – she embodied the boundless exotism, which was dammed up till the 1920s in the white privileged society (which only gathered their richdom through most brutal slavery and colonialistic structures). This society was still far away from acknowledging the traumata that have been caused through history. As an entertainer, singer, dancer Josephine Baker was famous worldwide- she was idolised and demonised as well – she experienced terrible discrimination and contradictions- in the times of the upcoming civil right movement.

Emancipation, Integration and cheerfulness

As an older women she established the first “rainbowfamily” (the term was invented by her) with 12 war-orphans and poverty victims from europe, africa, asia and america. She supported the civil right movement and was a key speaker during the march on washington 1963 – next to Martin Luther King. As a french secret agent Joseohine Baker smuggled top secret documents during the war and also have been honored („Croix de Guerre“ and „Medaille de la Résistance“.)

“Her insatiable need to change everything is due to her childhood, in which violence and racism have been part of everyday life. When Josephine Baker was born, slavery only was 40 years back.” (source)

Dancing and Singing was her life and her cheeky, sassy and very brave style created a unique career for her- at a time, when this virtually grotesque cheerfulness was totally “en vogue”. “Dancing is the best way to keep me warm”, she said with the age of 13.

Other then with earlier series of my soundsculpture artwork (dedicated to „Diotima“,,„Bingen“ and „Rumi“), i do not find somewhat “philosophical” overlappings, which can maybe illustrate the/my tuning process with the hammer. Here I find context because of the power of music, which has the ability to connect people– and also via the key experience of “euphoria” and ecstasy. It is “carnewal”, exotism and cheerfullness of the interbellum, which i can see via the phenomenon of Josephine Baker- and all of this are categories easily to be observed also in the very enthusiastic “handpan-world”.

Icon of liberation

it is not for coincidence, that i was looking for a character from this time. Also today i see comparable patterns:  excessive celebration everyhwere and at the same time terrible catastrophes and flows of “fake news”, un-enlightenment, naivity, discrimination, exotism and also the inability to call things by name. In the interbellum not only an raging and unbound “Zeitgeist” was dominating but also the most enthusiastic party mode was on, paired with a growing desire for freedom. Also people maybe thought industrialization would solve all the problems.

I hope with my link to Baker i archieve to make a little political statement about where i see the world today and also the role of the handpan instruments: as an beautyful, exotic and wild instrument, which wants to be unbound and which also maybe can unbound human beeings – and which combines all contradictions harmonically – so to say analog to Bakers idea of the Rainbowfamily.

The famous and notorious “black venus” led a most exciting life and embodied an outstandingly interesting role. Her performances have been forbidden in many cities during Nazitimes, including Vienna. Her art was labeld “degenerated”, she was forbidden to enter fascist italy and was denied hotelrroms in USA.

“Josephine Baker wont be intimidated, ever.”(source)

It was during the 1930 that the Steelpan and the Art of steeltuning was developed in Trinidad/Tobago. This happend out of a political history of such structual violence, that i only can compare it to the power of a volcano. This analogy might be a bit unprofessional, but: Josephine Baker seems just as well like a vulcano. She emancipated herself in her complex biography – and really mesmerized people, back then and still today.

This series is dedicated full of respect to Josephine Baker and her Rainbowfamily, and as well all antiracist partisans in the days back then and also today.



“To realise our dreams we have to decide to wake up.”

Josephine Baker

I shall dance all my life. . . . I would like to die, breathless, spent, at the end of a dance.

Josephine Baker

“I’m not intimidated by anyone. Everyone is made with two arms, two legs, a stomach and a head. Just think about that.”

Josephine Baker

“She is a genius, a genius of good mood.” (Quelle)