MAESTRO JOHN G KOVAC & HIS HARP MAKING TRADITION
Greetings & Hola!
I'm Davy Clark, the John Kovac Harps by Davy C website owner, sales agent & harp maker. I am a member of the International Society of Folk Harpers & Craftsmen and am a certified, Level 1 Clinical harpist. And, as a harp maker & previous harp-making apprentice under the late, Maestro John G. Kovac (November 1945 - July 2022), I had the privilege to get to know John & his wife, Judi (and, their fine canine, Nandu') over a number of years up to John's passing.
Like so many others, I first found John on YouTube where his prolific number of videos introduced us to the brilliant sounds and performance of the Paraguayan Folk Harp and, so fortunately for all of us, how to make our own Harps!
The Paraguayan folk harp is quite similar to its cousin, the Celtic (or, Lever) Folk Harp. Both harps can be played in the same manner. Yet, the Arpa Paraguaya (Paraguayan Harp) can also be played in a beautiful style & tradition all its own (check out some AWESOME LINKS above).
Yet, not only that, but John was also a prolific maker, teacher, mentor, and inventor of harps & various musical gadgetry, and other witty inventions.
All this he had previously recorded for us on his YouTube channel, DVDs, CDs, and in his books & harp kits, etc.
As a Celtic Folk & Lap Harp and Lyre making hobbyist myself, I had the great opportunity to train directly under the Maestro in his Do-it-Yourself (DIY) style of harp making. Each night of my training, John, Judi, their friends and I would go out to this, that, or the other restaurant playing music together to John's own DIY harps and gadgets.
What fun times with the Master harpist!
Now, as our most beloved & respected Maestro Kovac has passed on from this world (November 1945 - July 2022), as this updated website's sales agent & harp maker, I have the unique opportunity to continue the process of providing John's original DIY kits including his other DIY harp making products & plans to the world.
One of John's favorite sayings was, "Each One, Teach One." (Which John received from harp-making legend, Robbie Robinson.) We now continue that approach here, on this website.
I am available for consultation and for anything & everything to do with all the sales & products found on this John Kovac Harps by Davy C eCommerce website.
Please, see the CONTACT US menu choice for further information.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT JOHN
John Kovac, a long-time Paraguayan harp player, starting about 1986, became mesmerized by this harp & decided to learn to play it when he was young & traveling in Central & South America.
John also became interested in making all sorts of musical instruments based around the harp. The
DIY harp kits & products offered in this Internet Shop continue to be based on the kits with which he had enabled over several thousand other folks, throughout the world, to create their own harps.
You can also find John's large volume of musical works on the harp, his harp kits, and his various inventions on YouTube. Look for John Kovac on his YT Channel which remains in operation.
"While visiting Colombia with the Peace Corps in 1977, John Kovac saw a Paraguayan harpist playing at the Hilton Hotel in Bogota. Fascinated by the harpist and his instrument, John foolishly traveled six hours on a bus to the musician’s home. That visit to the humble harp maker’s shop (complete with chickens running around in the yard) resulted in John’s first harp purchase and a new mission: to some day make his own harp. Ten years later, he reached his goal. His passion for the folk harp flourished and in 1991, John gave up his law practice for a new profession: musician and instrument maker."
JOHN KOVAC, HIS HARPS & TRADITIONAL LEGACY
John, was a master harp maker and had been making harps for at least 34 years and was fond of constantly experimenting in an effort to simplify & improve harp design so that anyone with a will and a few simple tools can make one, too.
One harp design is the 26 String Pine Harp that anyone with the simplest of tools can make. And, also the 26 String Harpune is just a little more challenging to build but has a much louder tone than the Pine Harp.
Both of these harps are lightweight, ergonomically correct, easy to tune, use sustainable woods, have a cool feel, and can optionally, be disassembled and reconstructed in a very short time for airline transport.
RECOGNITION of JOHN KOVAC
John had lectured about harp building at the U.S. Library of Congress and had been invited to perform at 3 international harp conferences. He also authored several articles about harp construction in The International Society of Folk Harpers & Craftsmen Journal.
TYPES of HARPS
The harp is one of the most ancient musical instruments and one of the easiest to play. There are two basic types of harps: Concert harps, which have pedals that allow the harpist to change the pitch of the strings. Concert harps are very expensive ($10,000 or more) and very heavy (about 90+ pounds). All harps other than concert harps are folk harps. Folk harps have never been standardized. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can even be constructed from such common materials as PVC pipes and fittings.
JOHN'S PASSION for FOLK HARPS & GADGETRY
As a harp maker, John had constructed almost 500 folk harps over the decades. Pictures of a few of John's harps can be found on this website. He always played each believing that he learned something new after building every one. John's method was to constantly experiment with new making approaches and never tried to do the same thing twice. John's innovative designs have been reproduced in our exclusive, John Kovac kits, videos, and books which can be found on this John Kovac Harp Maker website.
You will be fascinated with John's crafty inventions of musical instruments made from inexpensive PVC pipe. You can easily build one yourself with the PVC Instrument Plans book and hardware & string kit.
John also shared his enthusiasm for harps, DIY instruments, and his other fun creations by offering audio recordings, books, videos, and kits that have introduced so many folks to the pleasure of the harp & musical experimentation. See his classic Paraguayan harp video here and a recent, local news release about his gadgety here on YouTube.
See the article from the Northern Virgina Daily on John's wind harp installed at the public library.
His classic book, Harpmaking Made Simple, legacy DVDs & CDs, and folk harp kits have introduced musicians & non-musicians alike to the joys of playing the folk harp.
We can certainly do the same for you today!
Check out our Shop to find which kit, plans, book & recording are right for you.