About Us

yatao handpan duo


Yatao - consisting of Malte and Alex, is a world music project and handpan duo hailing from Berlin.
Since Malte & Alex have met for the first time by serendipity in 2014 they work together with great passion and dedication to their music, 
with which they tour all over Europe.

Bringing along handpans, a didgeridoo and various percussion instruments they go on an inner journey through their friendship and the landscapes of their emotions. 
Their fluently improvised music sets reflect the colorful sound of the present moment.

Their concerts are much more than just a performance of their music. 
They are a place of coming together, forgetting and remembering, letting go and understanding. 
A place where everyone is invited to do nothing more than just be and feel into the inside of the soul.

alexander mercks yatao handpan hannah ayiana

Alexander Mercks

Freiburg, Germany

I was born and raised in Berlin in 1991. In my childhood I was already in contact with music due to my mother who worked as a music teacher - I had piano lessons and sang in the children’s choir. In my youth I stopped making music myself but it was always like a dear friend to me. It could comfort me when I was down, lend me energy when I felt weak and help me express my joy. These days I mostly expressed my feelings through dance and used the music as a channel.

As the youngest of three siblings I grew up in a well looked after family and had a very good life. In my dreams though I was looking for something more than that. I wanted to be free, self-determined and do what I love.

During my school time I hardly questioned the academic path that my family and society set out for me. After I finished school I went to Uganda, East Africa, to spend a year working in a social project working with children. Right after I came back I started to study „industrial engineering“ because I thought it would be reasonable. Four years and one semester abroad in Chile later, I had my diploma of bachelor. I traveled around Europe with nothing but my bike for two months and when I came back I seriously asked myself the question what I wanted to do next. I clearly felt that continuing my studies was not the right path for me and that I wanted to start pursuing my passion instead of following my interests and „reasonable“ decisions.

In the summer of 2014 I met Malte at a small festival in Northern Germany. Inspired and encouraged by this encounter, I took my first step into becoming a musician and got my first handpan just weeks later. Ever since a lot has happened on my musical journey and today I am living my dream. With my music I can show myself and share my inner world with my surroundings. I can do what I love and I can be free, as I always wished for.

Malte Marten Yatao Handpan Hannah Ayiana

Malte Marten

Berlin, Germany

I discovered the handpan in spring 2014. After ten very intense days in a meditation course in Austria I returned home to Berlin with a completely open heart. When my friends showed me a video of ‘Hang Massive’ I couldn’t believe my ears. After the first few videos I knew that I wanted one of these magical instruments. In that same night I ordered my first instrument from the Berlin based maker ‘Innersound’ and could go to pick up my instrument of choice only three weeks later.

During the first few months with my handpan I dove deeply into the playing, often forgetting even to eat and drink, just to wake up hours later from deep trance like states. When I then went to parks and later also onto the streets of Berlin I discovered the live performance and spent my time in the direct contact with the people.

What I learned during busking on the streets about me and life was just incredible. One year after my discovery of the handpan my son was born. Besides all the beautiful, instructive and challenging moments that I discovered through and with him, he is my biggest anchor. When I come back from a tour - light and scattered - he always brings me back to the ground and into the present moment.

I am also thankful for yoga - the thread that connects me with the source. I discover the richness of life - with all the ups and downs that come along.