Trust the process.
TerraTōnz (pronounced “Terra Tōnes”) takes inspiration from the word “Terra,” which is Latin for “Earth.” The idea is that our musical instruments generate Earth tones, or sounds which resonate with natural cycles and bring about a sense of balance and peace. We believe creating music can feel like a natural process for anyone, and we hope the instruments we offer will awaken musicians and listeners to be more natural with others and themselves. The musical note which sometimes appears in our original logo is a B Natural in honor of this philosophy.
"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point." -Alan Watts
TerraTōnz is housed primarily within the MESA, an art studio at a rural crossroads in Northwest Georgia, USA. Most artists who visit MESA contribute to TerraTōnz’s instruments in some way. However, our core is a family of 4 friends who have remained close for many years—in one case, over 3 decades! We all have dreamed of careers which allow us to exercise independence while using creativity to impact others in positive and healthy ways. For each of us, TerraTōnz represents one important step toward this goal.
In addition to its home within the MESA, TerraTōnz extends its reach north to Osage, West Virginia, USA. There, Mannette Musical Instruments provides an extended family for TerraTōnz. Mannette Musical Instruments is the professional headquarters of the globally acknowledged innovator of the Trinidadian steel drum, the father of singing steel, Dr. Ellie Mannette.
Christopher Ryan began his career as an independent scenery dimensional prop builder by founding Minds's Eye Scenic Arts in 1998 where he and his team of artists fabricated sets and props for motion pictures and theme parks. Both feeling at odds with working with corporate America and coping with a lightening fire which re-shaped his creative environment, Christopher Ryan envisioned TerraTōnz following a South American plant medicine ceremony in 2010. The ceremony's facilitator, his friend Alberto, shared a vision of Christopher Ryan making what was simply described as a “UFO shaped musical instrument.” Alberto had no further information to share. Christopher Ryan asked how to find it, and Alberto only replied, “If it is truly your path to follow, you will find your way.” Upon embarking on his path to pan, Christopher had never played a musical instrument before, though he always longed to. He was inspired by the HANG as a Sound Sculpture to liberate him into playing and making. Christopher Ryan continues to walk his path to pan and invites you to join him.
Kelli Lynn is a writer, activist and former classroom teacher who married Christopher Ryan in 2007 and is the mother to two of his children. From 2012 - 2017, Kelli has acted as a general manager helping Christopher build a foundation on which his vision for TerraTōnz can more firmly stand. Beginning in 2018, Kelli will focus on sales and marketing. She also looks forward to connecting with players via the monthly interviews she will conduct for TerraTōnz's newsletter.
Clinton Kelley is a childhood friend of Christopher's who continues to collaborate with him into adulthood. Like Kelli, Clinton joined the team in 2012 and currently assists with a wide variety of tasks connected to both administration and production.
John Hand is a cultural anthropologist who studies the anthropology of consciousness. His research has led him to work with the Cowlitz Tribe in Washington state where he learned about their folklore, shamanic drumming, vision quests and the medicine wheel. He is also a sonic therapist and creates musical journeys and soundscapes with healing intention. John discovered the handpan as both a musical instrument and a tool for healing and transformative experiences. The handpan helped connect him with his musical side and after having his own awakening experience with them in his own healing process, he set out to help connect others with this powerful medicine. In 2017 John joined the TerraPan team as an apprentice tuner.
Taylor Mills hails from northwest Georgia and brings a wide variety of experiences to TerraTōnz. Taylor holds a business degree from Reinhardt University. He has spent the past 5 years working with nonprofits in planning, leadership, & logistics for medical and relief teams both overseas and domestically. Taylor is an avid thinker and writer mostly within the realms of philosophy, theology, and spirituality, but always open to conversations to listen and grow in knowledge.
Thanks to Ellie and his tuners Rob Davis and April Moncreif, Mannette Musical Instruments has been TerraTōnz's training ground and tuning station since 2011.