You may have spotted Walter Scalzone getting the party started at Nikki Beach Dubai or Buddha Bar beach club Abu Dhabi… Yep, this guy is an awesome musician, and seriously knows how to get the crowd up and dancing! He plays a variety of percussion instruments, including water drums and one that he designed himself – the world’s first LED handpan!
Meet Walter Scalzone
A multi-percussionist and water drummer based in Dubai, Walter plays around 30 gigs a week and loves every second of it.
- Name: Walter Scalzone (check him out on Instagram @walterscalzone)
- Nationality: Italian
- Profession: Multi-percussionist, water drummer, creator of LED handpan
- How long he’s been doing this: Over 10 years
- Where he plays: Lounges and beach clubs in the UAE, and international gigs too!
- How much he loves his job? A lot!
What is a handpan?
Watch the video (above) and you’ll see Walter making music from a rather odd-looking instrument. Yep, that’s a handpan. This circular steel instrument lets you hit various notes all around to create melodious rhythms – which sound incredible! Traditionally used for yoga and meditation, Walter customized the instrument with LED lights and brought it to the UAE’s nightlife scene – using it to create upbeat rhythms and get people grooving.
How did he get the idea to create a LED handpan? Inspired by the flying saucer emoji (yes, actually!), Walter got his handpan customized with LED lights, so that it lights up every time he hits a note. “It looks something like a UFO, right?” asks Walter. Yep, the LED handpan definitely looks like something that just flew in from outer space.
What kind of music is it? Each handpan comes in different scales and Walter’s handpan is in C-sharp. Currently, he can use it to play melodic rhythms, ambient sounds, percussive and chill lounge music.
What other instruments can he play? Being a multi-percussionist, Walter plays a variety of acoustic and electronic percussion instruments, and can work with house, Arabic, Latin, lounge and even RnB music. One of his signature shows is the Wa(l)ter Drums, which you can check out here.
Where does he perform? You can catch him performing live at Nikki Beach, Buddha Bar Abu Dhabi, Coya Dubai, Ruya, or check his Instagram for upcoming events.
Advice for budding musicians in Dubai? “It’s not easy when you make this choice. But at the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself and in what you’re doing,” says Walter.
We checked out a few handpan videos before meeting Walter, but this was so much more magical than we thought it would be! Walter is awesome and the sounds he creates with the handpan is so melodious, you just never want to stop listening to it. That mixed with the LED lights makes it feel like a completely out-of-this-world experience!
Dubai, we need your help! Know anyone who deserves a #60SecondSpotlight moment? We have recently covered a talented hip-hop troop, a VFX makeup artist, an awesome magician and more! If you know someone in the city who should be part of this series, let us know! Just follow us on Instagram and tag us on their profile.