Photo of Jakez François
Jakez François

Jakez François, Harpmaker

Sold throughout the world, Camac harps from France are appreciated for their high quality and amazing innovations, and the Camac Harps Company is known for its dynamic approach and dedication to producing and refining its instruments.

Jakez François, head of Camac, is also a noted harp player and composer, adding to his leadership and understanding of the world of harps. Here in his own words, he tells about managing a harp company:

"I am now in charge of the company, and you cannot imagine how exciting a harpmaker's life is! I start in the factory very early in the morning because most of the workers do, too. This also allows me a few hours away from phone and office work. There are always a dozen projects in process. Production organization is important as we are always growing, so there are workshops to move or enlarge. Or we may work on harp improvements, from the smallest part of the harp to the construction of the whole instrument.

Harp Parts
Harp Parts

"My work day also includes a few hours in front of the computer. I try to remember how life was before e-mails, but I cannot. I wonder what we used to do during all the hours that I now spend writing. I can hardly believe that sometimes my entire day is taken up with e-mail correspondence. And then there are meetings with bankers, discussions with worker shop-stewards, sales, payment concerns, or other business matters.

"One very pleasant part of my work includes taking time for harp events which we like to attend as they are the ideal place to meet harpists and learn what they expect from harps, and in particular from Camac harps. I also enjoy hearing news of the harp community, and, of course, we exhibit our instruments. These events are always exceptional times for us as harpmakers, even though they keep us away from the workshop.

Camac Pro-Harp Center
Camac Pro-Harp Center

"My life as a harpmaker is really beyond my dreams. Working on a harp, from taking pen in hand to make the very first diagram, to the very last stage - organizing concerts and commissioning new pieces - is, for a harpist, an incredible thrill each day."


Biography

As teenagers, François' parents played the Scottish bagpipes in a Breton music group whose members also included a boy named Alan Cochevelou. He also played the harp and became famous as Alan Stivell. He is a very close friend of the François family, and thus it was that Jakez was introduced to the idea.

After studying the pedal harp Jakez François returned to the Celtic harp, playing, teaching, composing, and competing. During the World Harp Trophy competitions in 1988 harpmaker Joel Garnier, a longtime friend, invited the 22-year-old François to come to his workshop, learn to regulate harps, and test the harps he had made. After a few months Jakez was working fulltime and doing more marketing and commercial work. Two years later he and Garnier became partners, with the promise that François would take over after Garnier's retirement.

Joel Garnier
Joel Garnier

They worked together for 12 years, Garnier teaching everything he knew about harpmaking. Sadly, at the time he was ready to retire Garnier became ill with cancer and died in September, 2000, at age 60. Jakez François took charge of the company.

The divorced father of two children, Chloe and Elliott, François now lives "with a wonderful harpist named Isabelle Moretti"

Compositions and arrangements by Jakez François
For lever harp:
3 Petites Pièces (Music from Bretagne) - published by Camac
Kyndillan (based on a Welsh melody) - published by Camac
Ar baradoz (based on a Breton hymn) - available at Camac
La Loire - Suite for Celtic Harp and Chamber Orchestra
Suite Choregraphique (commissioned by the French Ministère de la Culture) - not published
Deux Mouvements à Huit (commissioned by the Breton Harp Ensemble) - not published
Meditation et Danse (Composition Prize at the Dinan Festival)

For pedal harp, pop and jazz music published by Camac:

Take Five / Desmond
Blue Rondo a la Turk / Desmond
Women of Ireland (trad.)
Pull Marine / Gainsbourg
Hot Cucumber

CD: Harpe Celtique Instrumental (music from Bretagne)


Contact information:

Jakez.Francois@camac-harps.com
www.camac-harps.com

Camac Harps
La Richerais
44850 Mouzeil
France

Tel: +33 240 97 24 97
Fax: +33 240 97 79 31






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