For this edition of Handpan Maker Spotlight, we take a look at Yishama the famed "pantam" makers from Israel whose instruments can be seen in the hands of David Kuckhermann, Adrian Portia, Jeremy Nattagh, Kabeção, Nadishana, and dozens more of the world's elite handpan players. Yishama's instruments have captured the attention of the handpan communities most discerning members for good reason and their creations are universally known as some of the best in existence today.
What is your company name? And what is the meaning/inspiration behind it?
Yishama - The meaning of the word Yishama in Hebrew is something that is meant to be heard, it is mentioned in the bible as a voice traveling between the mountains.
Do you have a specific name for the instruments you make? If so what is the meaning behind this?
In Israel, we refer to the handpan as Pantam, the combination between Pan and Tam Tam (Malaysian for a certain kind of gong)
Who is your company run by? Do you work alone or with a team of people?
The company was founded by Yhonatan Ale-Yahav and today it is operated by a team of 12 dedicated teammates.
We have 3 bases for our production, Israel (the main one), Hungary, and Romania.
How did you first discover the handpan?
The first time I ever played a handpan was on my last day traveling in India when by chance I saw a woman carrying a round bag on her back in the streets of Delhi, immediately I ran to her, and lucky enough she let me play her 1st gen hang, it was a moment I will never forget!
What made you decide to start building handpans?
Actually, I was offered to learn the art of building handpans by Nobuya Yamaguchi, a Japanese steel artist which whom we became close over the years and I started my journey with him.
What is your goal as a handpan builder?
To transfer my intentions of quality and balance into my instruments.
What would you say your instruments are known for?
Quality and balance. As well as trying to break the boundaries of handpans as we know them every time.
What are your most and least favorite things about being a handpan builder?
The damage the body has to suffer from working with the steel.
If you could only play one handpan scale for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
That's a really hard question, the answer may change every time, I can say that today it would be F3 Pygmy 19
What's one interesting fact about you, your company, or your instruments?
If you write the word Yishama in Hebrew it looks like this - ישמע it's a 4 letter word. If you tap the same letters ישמע but on an English keyboard you get - hang. I found out about this 2 years after the name Yishama was chosen.
Do you take custom orders?
Yes, but we suggest most players choose from our pre-made scale list which has more than 40 scales we are very happy about the results of quality which we can recreate from that list.
Do you have instruments currently available to purchase?
Yes, we always create a few instruments outside of our waiting list so people are able to buy an instrument they feel a calling for at the moment.
Do you have a waiting list? If so how long?
Yes, for about 6-12 months.
For more information about Yishama:
Looking to buy your first handpan? We've got you covered! Planet Handpan partners with the world's best handpan makers to get you an instrument you're sure to love. Every builder, every sound model, and every instrument is individually selected by us to guarantee you end up with a handpan that is truly the best of the best.
Head to the Planet Handpan marketplace to browse handpans from around the globe.