Okay, I see a lot of these instruments on the market... both the steel tongue drums and the "hand pans". And I have seen all those videos on YouTube: always a busker on a street corner playing trancey solo jams, or maybe with percussion accompaniment. I wonder, is that all these instruments are really good for ? Being tuned to a pentatonic scale in one key seems pretty limiting to me, as far as playing harmonically in a group with melodic instruments. Can it be used as a rhythm instrument in a band ? Wouldn't it sound dissonant, if the song changed to a chord that doesn't include the notes on the drum ? Guess my concern would be this: if I invested in one, I'd have a ball and play it like crazy for the first couple weeks. Then the novelty would wear off, and it would wind up on a shelf collecting dust.
--- sorry for sounding so cynical ... still on my 1st cup of coffee ---