The Harp Friends Meeting was initiated by Jeanette van Nieulande and Anouk Platenkamp. Both are avid folk harp players and have been committed for years to promote the folk harp in the Netherlands (and outside of it). One of the things they noticed is that there were many different harp festivals focusing on the folk harp abroad, while there was none in the Netherlands. These festivals are all great places to follow workshops, learn new things about the instrument, and get in touch with likeminded people to exchange music and ideas. In 2011 Jeanette and Anouk went to the Edinburgh International Harp Festival and the Nordic Harp Meeting. During these trips they spoke of how great it would be to have an international harp meeting like that in the Netherlands, where you could immerse yourself in folk harp for a few days at a time. The idea wouldn’t leave them. Both Anouk and Jeanette had organised workshops before: Jeanette having started the Celtic Harp day in Belgium and Anouk teaching and organising workshops for her students and local harpists. It turned out to be only a small step to organising a three day event: the International Harp Friends Meeting. 2013 saw the birth of the IHFM: a big success! This year we already organise our fifth edition on May 19, 20 and 21 in Leerdam with the following guests: Sasha Boldachev, Clotilde Trouilloud, Anouk Platenkamp, Janne-Minke Nijp, Cheyenne Brown, Duo Jørgensen – de Leuw and Inge Frimout. Also Salvi and Lyon&Healy will come with lots of harps for a big harp exhibition during the Harp Friends Meeting. And also, because this is our lustrum, Salvi and L&H offer all our Harp Friends guests of this year and the past four years a free concert on Sunday May 21 with Sasha Boldachev. After the concert we celebrate our fifth edition. We hope you will all come. All information you will find in the program.
Jeanette van Nieulande is an enthusiastic amateur musician; she plays recorders, harp and cello. She made her hobby into her profession when she started the harp store De Zingende Snaar in 2004. The store has a nice collection of harps, selected for quality and sound. Together with harp builder Jos van Zaane she is developing her own brand of harp, Mytilus Harps. The first model, a therapy harp named Breeze, will be shown to the public this fall. Jeanette organised many workshops and concerts, with a.o.Wendy Stewart, Verlene Schermer, Cheyenne Brown and Erik Ask-Upmark. She sees organising the Int. Harp Friends Meeting, a three day event, as a new challenge.
Anouk Platenkamp studied classical pedal harp at the conservatory of Maastricht, where she graduated in 2002. In the same year she discovered her passion for folk music, when she was asked to play in a folk band. Ever since she specialised in folk music, mostly from European countries. In 2008 she started her band Faerydae, with which she play European folk. She makes her own arrangements and uses a lot of improvisation in her playing. From the start of her harp career, Anouk also specialised in playing for elderly with dementia. In 2009 she finished the International Harp Therapy Program and was one of the first Dutch people to do it. To this day Anouk plays for people that are ill or have a disability. Anouk has a flourishing harp studio in Nijmegen, Dieren andKleve (DE) where she teaches harp to children and adults. She also teaches workshops, a.o. on harp therapy.