HA!Man BIO in brief

20 January 2017




Francois le Roux is a high level classically trained cellist and pianist, with a musical journey already starting at age three, improvising on the piano, stimulated by his father's way of playing by ear. Since age ten he served as a church organist and composed his first orchestral work at thirteen. His creativity also expanded to other mediums. A poem he wrote at 16 was used as a central sample of youthful creativity in a doctoral thesis at the University of Johannesburg. After studies in philosophy and theology, he left the formal music environment to become the "HA!Man," fully devoting his time and career to the development of spontaneous expression (HA!) as an art form. Based on a particular life philosophy he set out to restore and retain a certain vitality in music. Over the last 25 years, this path took him all over South Africa and then also internationally as he played and workshopped on the basis of personal an independent networking.

To categorize his musical style is hardly possible, but it certainly incorporates strong elements of classical styles, african music and modern world-music genres. HA! performances are never planned in detail, as "the HA!Man" thrives on making art in the moment, sometimes taking impulses given by the audience or simply flowing with the feelings born from silences. At the same time he is noted for a strong structural dimension to his improvisations which sets them aside from typical "jamming" or formless wandering often associated with "free" expression. His cello forms the centre of a stage setup that is supported by original and varied electronic accompaniments, keyboard playing, dances. conversation and more. Each performance becomes a spontaneous creation in itself as all these elements weave into a whole that moves and often bring audiences from all walks of life to their feet.

He maintains a keen interest in world and human affairs, having been shaped by the momentous changes in South Africa through the 80's and 90's Much of his work grapples with the relation - and the formation of relation - between right and left brain dimensions, chaos and order, Africa and Europe, nature and civilization and instinct and rationality. "HA!" actually invokes the "third dimension" of feeling which is born from the dynamic meeting point between these various opposites. In his workshops he facilitates a space and support frame so that participants can discover the origins of creativity within themselves, within the flowing moment. His web site gives an account of the many types of venues he has performed in, distinguished appointments, commissions and residencies and various collaborations in different parts of the world. Consistently self-managed, he maintains a unique space of artistic vitality in a world dominated by expedience and the pressure to commercialize.

Since 2012 he is joined in life and on stage by Belgian writer and actress Joke Debaere, with whom a deep collaboration is unfolding.