ARTS Pick: Matt Venuti

The hang is a steel instrument made only in Switzerland. The hang is a steel instrument made only in Switzerland.

Experience the sublime echoes of Global-Instrumentalist, Matt Venuti for a solo performance on the Hang (pronounced “hung”) on August 30 at Bridge Between The Worlds.  Matt has performed worldwide, and will bring his enlightening tones to the relaxing and serene environment of the retreat center.

Sometimes described as a “sound sculpture,” the hang (pronounced “hung”) is a Swiss steel instrument akin to the steel drum. Bounded by the limited chords and scales of his unusual instrument, Venuti will sing and explore his palette with free-form melodies and peaceful rhythms.

Matt has been a professional musician for almost 30 years, perfecting his craft across an array of instruments and styles.  With a background in jazz, electronic and world music, Matt has brought his talents full circle by combining his experience as a solo artist, as well as part of various ensembles, through the Hang.

Made only in Berne, Switzerland, the Hang is a one-of-a-kind steel instrument, akin to a steel drum, that produces other-worldly sounds.  However, unlike the common steel drum, the Hang requires and produces a much more nuanced range of styles and sounds (some compare it to wood wind instruments, or even the harp), creating an entire range of melody and rhythms all within one instrument.   This is made possible because of the design of the instrument, as well as the unique metal alloy called Pang (pronounced “pung”) that the Hang is made from.  The Hang, created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, is only played by a handful of people throughout the world.

Aside from the material and design of the Hang, part of what makes this instrument so unique is that it only has about 7 true notes, and while it is possible to play structured chords or scales, the instrument lends itself to free-form very easily.  This is what Matt loves so much about the instrument, and what he feels challenges him to become a more creative musician.  The limitations of the scope of the instrument causes Matt to “minimalize what I do, and explore from within a smaller frame of reference, and then a world opens up.”  Rather than focusing on the common range of sounds from top to bottom, the Hang explores the infinity between two spaces (or notes). Listening to the hang is akin to an existential experience. ~James Stimpson

Friday, 8/30. 7:00PM with a reception beforehand at 6:00PM. Bridge Between the Worlds Event Center, 2395 Paddock Wood Road, Keswick. 293-9708.