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 and has allowed us to create quality instruments since 2013.
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. All of our instruments are tuned through the Ellie Mannette lineage of tuners and we are proud to have a direct connection to the steel pan tradition in this way.
Founder: Christopher Ryan began his career as an independent scenery dimensional prop builder by founding Minds's Eye Scenic Arts in 1998. 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.” Before embarking on his path to pan, Christopher had never played a musical instrument, though he always longed to. He was inspired by the HANG as a Sound Sculpture to become a player and a maker. Christopher Ryan still plays the TerraPan to this day, but now follows his own path in South America.
Tuner: In 2017 John Hand took an apprenticeship at Mannette Musical Instruments under the instruction of Rob Davis. After 3 months there he had created his first TerraPan and joined the team as an apprentice tuner. In 2018 he took over Customer Support and web management for TerraTonz. John has a background in cultural anthropology, religion, percussion, and consciousness studies.
Builder: Clinton Kelley is a childhood friend of Christopher's who continues to work with TerraTonz. Like Kelli, Clinton joined the team in 2012 and currently assists with a wide variety of tasks connected to both administration and production.
Manager: 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. Since 2012 Kelli has acted as a general manager.
Thanks to Ellie Mannette and his tuners Rob Davis and April Moncreif. Mannette Musical Instruments has been TerraTōnz's training ground and tuning station since 2011.