Bienvenue a France!  I’m in Ancenis for the so I can practice any time of day or night … and I do!

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Yesterday, I got a tour of the CAMAC harp factory to see my signature harp built and had an interview with harp developer and builder Jakez Francois.  We saw a harp-form being manufactured and painted and I can’t WAIT to share the interview with you next month.

Here’s a shot from the factory – Jakez is holding the foam harp-form that will become a “DHC” electric harp – and on the wall are hundreds of drawers with harp hardware in them.

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I don’t remember what we’re discussing in this photo, but I’m here with the developer, Jakez Francois and the engineer who translated the harp designs into reality … (blah! I lost the piece of paper where I wrote his name!)  Jakez is holding the high-grade foam form that is used to create the DHC and we’re standing next to the OLD machine that was used to create these forms.

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In this picture we’re watching one of the highly focused factory workers preparing the housing for the electronic pickups that will be attached to the body of the harp.

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In this photo you can see the harp shape after it’s been coated with carbon fibre at the bicycle factory (seriously).  After that it’s been sanded to prepare it for painting and the wooden attachment that holds the strings and the electronics has been attached.

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The harps are painted in a completely dust-free environment to make sure the finish is perfectly smooth.

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Here are two finished “DHC” harps – ready to be strung and sent to their new owners!

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Here on the factory floor you can see a whole STABLE of harps – some strung, some unstrung.  Most of them are acoustic, but you can see the blue & black DHC harps right in the middle.

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Jakez and I set up for the Interview I’ve been asking for for years – to tell the story of the “DHC” harp and how it went from conception to reality.

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One of my favorite corners of the CAMAC factory is this one, where a famous old classic harp sits next to a portrait of ‘my’ harp, the “DHC.”

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If you’ve ever wondered why so many women play the harp, I’m pretty sure it’s because so many of the harp builders are so handsome — but don’t take my word for it – here’s a photo from the factory — you can decide.

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I also got to meet two of the wonderful women behind the front-desk at CAMAC – people I talk to on the phone and in emails but never get to meet!

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While at the factory, with everything set up for the interview with Jakez, I also filmed two masterclasses for the new online Harp-school.com, which will be edited and added to the hundreds of harp masterclasses next month.

Here’s a selfie with Evelina and Martin, the geniuses behind Harp-school.com.

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And in case you think I never get to actually hang out in the wonderful places I visit, yesterday I got to enjoy Ancenis with my actor friend, Robert Sicular who happens to also be performing in France right now.

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We got to see Ancenis just as the blossoms are carpeting parts of the town.

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And as I sat writing this blog, who should toast me from the next table but Venezuelan harp superstars Eduardo Betancourt and Leonard Jacome!

Yup!  All this and the Festival “Harpes au Max” hasn’t even started yet!!

Oh … and one last thing … as I was leaving the Factory, Jakez offered me this one-of-a-kind PINK harp case … which I politely declined in favor of a white one – but for anyone out there buying a DHC-32 harp who wants a truly unique and waaaaaay-easy-to-find-in-an-airport 19-pound fiberglass road case – this is the ONLY one there is in the world – so let the CAMAC factory know ASAP.  I was sorely tempted – if only so I could put a tag on it saying, “This may look like your luggage, but don’t be fooled – many bags look alike.  Make sure to check the luggage tag”

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