Jakez François with the Atlantic Harp Duo. Photo: Jacqueline Molinié
As has become traditional over the last three years, the fearsome contender to the BBC that is CamacCam (i.e. us, with a camcorder) has been in Perpignan, documenting the festival's every move, cadence and burst of applause. In the video below, ignore the occasional shaky camera angle and dodgy transition, and feast your eyes and ears instead on the wonderful artists, talking about their programmes and their work in general.
Preparations for our Camac festival in Perpignan are in full swing. It's a particularly busy time at our factory in Mouzeil, because the Camac festivals always host our largest special exhibition of the year. All our harps are regulated, checked and regulated again before they leave our workshops - and at the head of all this regulating is Enric de Anciola, someone for whom Perpignan is not so far from home.
"At Algam, my work was more about quality control than repairs and regulation", Enric explains, "so after a while I was on the look-out for a new challenge, that would be more hands-on and develop my skills. It was around this time that my former teacher at ITEMM coincidentally got wind of an advertisement for a harp technician in Mouzeil, and he phoned me to say he had found me the perfect job. I remember that I sent my application in on a Wednesday, had an interview with Jakez the following Monday, and my contract was signed ten days later...and here I am!
Guitars and harps often have the same technical problems, but the solutions are completely different. Obviously, you are dealing with completely different weights, heights and tensions, with discs instead of frets, and many other technical details that mean that while guitar will give you a head start, you can't just jump in and get started. I was closely trained by Jakez and Daniel Piré, and I spent two and half years working closely with Daniel and building my experience. I'm a better harp technician now than I am a guitar one, which is just as well...Daniel retired at the end of 2013, and I became head of Camac's after-sales service.
After no less than thirty-four years at Camac, our head technician Daniel Piré is retiring at the end of this year.
Daniel joined the Société Camac at the time when we were still making pan flutes, followed by lever harps. Because Joël Garnier got into making harps step by step, Daniel accumulated a broad range of experience in the same way. He worked on everything from lever harp finishes, to the entire construction of single- and double-action harps, and found his interest in harp regulation growing.
Those of you who have ever organised festivals will probably remember having an "arghh!" moment at some point or another. Sometimes, you'll even see a member of the generally cucumber-cool Camac team sprinting from the lighting box to backstage right because they've suddenly remembered they are supposed to be presenting the flowers. But time and time again, a soft magic gently unfolds across the event. This magic brings everything together, and creates an overwhelming feeling of friendship, and joy in sharing music.
Tanned, glowing and wearing sombreros, we're back from our holidays! You can send us an email, call us on the phone, browse our online boutique and visit Claude and Olivier at l'Espace Camac in Paris.
L'Espace Camac has extended its opening hours, and is now open six days a week instead of five: Monday - Saturday, 11AM - 7PM. It has also been beautifully renovated - about which, more in due course!
Mini blue, chrome finish, l'Espace Camac