PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Exotic, sweet, and distinctive describe the music of this Philadelphia artist who uses soft, rhythmic beats and cultural melodies to engage his audience.
One of the only musicians of his type in the Philadelphia-area, Dante Bucci boasts one of the most eclectic styles of indie music. He is one of the few local artists to perform with an instrument called the Hang drum (pronounced hung).
The tunes sound a lot like the Caribbean steel pan played with sticks, but the Hang looks slightly different and is played on one's lap.
"I've always liked the obscure and unconventional," said Dante. "My father is Italian, so we grew up exposed to a lot of different things, different cultures."
The instrument, which resembles a UFO, originated in Switzerland in 2000, and has only recently gained popularity in the United States.
According to Ron Kravitz, a former U.S. distributor of the Hang and a friend of Dante, the Hang usually ranges in price from $2,000 to $10,000 per instrument. He says only a handful of musicians in the area play the instrument.
Dante's first experience with the Hang came after he attended the Philadelphia Folk Fest in 2006 and a friend described the instrument. Despite being trained as a classical baritone, Dante always had a passion for percussion instruments. When he heard about the Hang, he was immediately "intrigued with the idea of melodies infused with percussion."
After researching the instrument, he discovered he could order the Hang through Ron Kravitz.
"He ordered the instrument without even laying hands on one," said Kravitz, who has become a dear friend to Dante since he bought the instrument.
"He is a highly skilled player and I admire his ability. His knowledge is quite expansive, and he has a good ear where he could pick out the notes on an instrument after hearing a tune," said Kravitz.
Since purchasing the Hang, Dante has become inseparable from his instrument and performs across the city at renowned venues like Milk Boy and World Café Live. The sounds of the Hang easily draw ones attention so much so that rooms always fall quiet to the instrument's compelling melodies.
"My music is still developing as a young songwriter. It's a lot of meditative, repetitive patterns that I find comforting. I listen to myself play and I get lost in it," Dante said.
"One of the easy things about being an instrumental songwriter is that you don't necessarily confine your song to a story or words. Writing instrumental music can be challenging because you don't have the words to tell the story, so I try to keep the variation in the rhythm to keep the listeners engaged," said Dante.
The novelty of the instrument has helped Dante stay connected with his audience. People are often intrigued by the instruments because it is something different. Many of his performances are spent explaining the history of the Hang before playing it.
"Playing the Hang definitely makes it easier to attract a crowd."
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His debut EP Reminiscence is available on iTunes. For more information, visit http://dantebucci.com
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Reported by Crystal Cranmore, CBS Philly
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