Multi-Instrumentalist Producer Mihir Chandan on How He Began Playing Handpan for Weddings
The electronic artist’s playgrounds range from forts in Rajasthan to beaches in Vietnam and clubs across the country
Aug 19, 2023
In early 2022, Mihir Chandan received an Instagram message from a woman planning her wedding, insisting she wanted him to play handpan during the crucial pheras. Chandan says, “I hesitantly agreed to do so as she was very persistent in adding positive vibrations of the magical instrument which would uplift the ceremony.”
Percussionist with handpan and tabla, plus a flautist and producer, Chandan says he agreed and went on craft what he calls specific performances to complement “traditional religious marriage ceremonies” – the Mantra Act as well as The Phera Act. The latter, he says, is “always a delicate balance between entertaining a crowd, creating a vibe set by the bride/groom.” Chandan, a seasoned performer and producer for over a decade, says, “Emotions are running high within the families and our main job is to seamlessly fuse our musical performance to give each and every guest a memorable experience and ink a memory which can be cherished for years to come.”
Termed as an “elevated fusion experience,” there’s a lot more to Chandan than just being the guy who’s playing handpan at a wedding to make it look more “exotic.” He’s released songs like “Desert Cry” with singer-songwriter Rahgir, plus singles like “Jiyara” which is described as handpan techno. Chandan says he’s drawn to the handpan because it’s one of the few instruments which is melodic and rhythmic in nature. “It’s still fairly new to many people, so the thrill of bringing new instruments in front of a new audience is powerful,” he adds.
Following “Jiyara” in 2022 with vocalist Shubhra Agnihotri, Chandan’s next single “Laga Re” also features the singer. He calls “Laga Re” as “EDM with spice.” The producer adds, “It’s a fusion track with progressive house and semi-classical vocals, deeply rooted in Indian traditional soundscape […] We have also shot a gorgeous music video with the concept of fire as the only source of light, which would be India’s first such visual concept as it’s extremely difficult to shoot such low lit subject.”
With over 80 event performances already ticked off the calendar so far, Chandan is also gearing up for wedding gigs alongside releasing new music through the rest of the year. From Oman to Dubai to Vietnam and Thailand, Indian destination weddings have Chandan as a regular fixture now.