• The third Harpes au max festival, the main event in the world of the harp, takes place this week in Ancenis (Loire-Atlantique).
  • For "20 Minutes", the artistic director, Jakez François, reveals some secrets of this little-known instrument.
  • He explains how strings work, the usefulness of pedals and the diversity of existing styles.

It is probably the most important harp event in the world. And it is in Loire-Atlantique that it takes place, in Ancenis precisely, 40 km from Nantes. Started on Thursday, the third Harpes au Max festival is held until Sunday evening. A hundred artists from ten countries are programmed. With the aim of musically transporting fans but also to convince less experienced spectators. Because, even if it is more practiced, the harp remains a little-known instrument adorned with many preconceived ideas.

"I spend my life fighting against prejudice," laughs Jakez François, both artistic director of the festival, but also harp maker and renowned harpist. He explains: "There is this image of the classical harp played by women from good families in the middle of the aristocracy. There is also the idea of a very folkloric instrument, a little Breton, popularized by Alan Stivell. But the harp is much more than that! It is an instrument present on almost all the planet and which has crossed the ages. His palette of styles is extremely varied: whether medieval music or the most modern electronic creations. »

Laurent Voulzy programmed at the festival

Famous artists appreciate it, such as Lady Gaga, Björk, Stefan Eicher or Laurent Voulzy, who will perform this Saturday night at the Harpes au Max festival with harpist Naomi Greene.

But, beyond the characteristic and spectacular look of the instrument (40 kg for the classic model), do you know what the colors on the strings are for? Did you know that there were also pedals? Do you know why there are different sizes? All the explanations in the video above.

  • Nantes
  • Loire-Atlantique
  • Pays de la Loire
  • Music
  • Entertainment
  • Culture
  • Lady Gaga
  • Festival