Rusty James is a multi-instrumental percussionist with a broad spectrum of influences. Having studied in Florida State’s Ethnomusicology department for several years in the 90s’, he developed a unique blend of african, afro-cuban, and Indian rhythms. Focusing predominately on congas, tablas, and kanjira interchangeably, he developed a hybrid split hand technique that is the foundation of his handpan approach. Integrating the handpan with a variety of ingrained traditional as well as experimental rhythms, Rusty has developed a unique pallet to whet the various cosmopolitan tastes that come with cross-cultural pollination.
Rusty had the good fortune of finding the Hang early. He went to Bern in late 2006, right before PanArt became well-known, and was lucky to acquire several hanghang from the 2nd generation. As the genre expanded with new builders he traveled to meet many of them, and put together a collection of high quality instruments that represent a cross section of history of this young inspiring musical creation. This collection is the basis for creating common unity with others, and is one of the foundations for the conception of HangOut USA!