International Jew’s Harp Society



Photo by Nicolás Matzner, Travelers Café in Yakutsk, June 2016.

Harm Linsen

Born in Boxtel, the Netherlands, in 1967. He discovered the jew’s harp at his brothers birthday in 1981, as one of his brothers schoolmates had a jew’s harp with him, a Schwartz from Molln. Next day he bought his first jew’s harp and from that day on he seldom leaves the house without a jew’s harp (or two or five). During his childhood he was the only one he knew that played a jew’s harp. This caused an interest in the instrument and drew him to the library where every lemma of the New Groves Dictionary of Musical Instruments on jew’s harps was studied. Later the search continued online in the early days of internet. He studied Museology in Amsterdam and soon after started to work in the museumfield. First as detach worker, later a steady position in the collectionsmanagement of Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde (the National Museum of Ethnography) in Leiden.

During this time he stumbled upon a French website for which he started to write articles. Later that website announced an International Festival and Congress to be held in Amsterdam in 2006. At this festival he met Frederik Crane and was persuaded to join the International Jew’s Harp Society. Frederik showed interest for one of his articles and published it in the Journal of the International Jew’s Harp Society or in short JIJHS. This triggered the initial desire to contribute to the Journal. During the next congress in 2010 in Kecskmét (Hungary) he was blown away by the Yakut delegation.

Because of the personal situation of the Dutch member of the board of the IJHS Harm was invited to join the board in his place at the congress of 2011 in Yakutsk and stayed in the board ever since. The special atmosphere at that congress made him want to do more for the society in the form of telling jew’s hap stories.

Over the years Harm visited the USA, Sicily, Hungary, Austria, Russia, Sakha-Yakutia and travelled basically all over the world in pursuit of the instrument.

At the 2014 Congress/Festival in Taucha, it was decided that Harm would form an editorial board for the JIJHS with Michael Wright after the decease of the former Editor Frederik Crane. This resulted in Journal 6 in 2016.

Everyone with a jew’s harp related story is welcome to mail the editorial board; tips on subjects are also most welcome!



Créer un guimbardopone, for the no longer existing French website, 2006.

Kak Izgotovit Varganofon, a translation of the former article into Russian on the website, 2006.

Creating a Jewsaphone, a translation of the fomer article to English for the website of the North American Jew’s Harp guild, 2007.

2007. “Megaphonic trumps”. Journal of the International Jew’s Harp Society 4: 49-60.

2011. “Jew.s harp patents an enumeration”. Journal of the International Jew’s Harp Society 5: 17-24.

2016. “Birmingham – Kwazulu-Natal revisited, Discoveries from the Photoarchives of the Museum of World Cultures, Leiden, The Netherlands”. Journal of the International Jew’s Harp Society 6: 8-20.