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Helen Davey: news

Being fed fine food through music. - July, 2018

When I can, I revel in the richness of wholesome professional development in improvisation. Sometimes it's in my own art form, other times I choose a different art form to explore. It's all nourishment and inspiration  - like gourmet food for my musical senses.

This month I was fortunate to be in Melbourne for fine vocal Impro food at Hilde Knottenbelt's winter school workshop. Lucky me!



Some toys from the workshop

Sapperlotting - June, 2018

Sapperlot is an all women's Playback-Theatre group in Zürich. We've been refining our improvised forms/structures during our regular training sessions over the past months. It's been fun working collaboratively.

Public workshop performance


Posh music - May, 2018

Until now I've been handwriting my music - yes really.

This month I made time to explore Logic Pro's notation options. It's pretty impressive and I enjoyed learning the ropes. Can hardly believe how posh my music looks in conventional notation.
Once I've completed the current collection, they'll be available for sale.

Piano Portraits Series

Still Morning - April, 2018

Project 52 Sound-Paintings is back with this contemplative piece for solo piano and breath.

You can listen to it here


Näbelmeer, Central Switzerland, winter 2018


Context - March, 2018

This month I was at a workshop in central Switzerland. Great people, good vibes and commendable creative work. I enjoyed taking one of the sessions and being nourished by the leaders of other sessions.

The view was breathtaking. Rather than being distracting, it offered a sense of profound focus. I felt like it contributed to the layers of meaning we expressed with our music and theatrical works.

Some say context is everything.

Inspiring views in central Switzerland

Silent Accordion Practice - February, 2018

Getting back to a routine in my studio after a month away had me taking very long, musical ‘breaths’."Still Morning", a piece for solo piano came out of that pondering. You can listen to it here: Still Morning.

Meanwhile, on the train to work, I can now practice accordion silently! Amazing what we can get from teh app store these days...

"Accordion" app means I can practice on the train using my ipad


Home-ness - January, 2018

This past decade, each January is spent at "home" in Australia for a four week flurry. Cramming a year of catching up with friends and family and completing required property maintenance into that month isn’t possible. But I still keep trying to square that hole.

Studio practice is one of the things that just has to go by the wayside....So my instruments are put to bed for a whole month - cause there just isn't the time to play them til I'm back into my routine in my Swiss "home".

HAPPY 2018 to you - I hope it's full of experimental, expansive, exciting and enriching moments .

My instruments put to bed for my annual leave


Sapperlot - December, 2017

Thrilled to have joined a women's impro theatre group in Zurich. Sapperlot needed a musician and I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Lucky me. Gas working with these gals. Many different forms and nuances in the improvisations. And there's even a nice littel grand piano in the rehearsal space.



film score for "Little Theatre" - November, 2017

I was asked to score the music for a short film, "Little Theatre presents" which is an intriguing artwork. Jeff Stewart, an Australian artist and writer has created a miniature theatre set to capture the charachters and themes of four of his monologues.

The miniature theatre is generally performed in intimate spaces for small audiences. Now it's been made into a film by Anthony Petrucci, with Stuart Grant narrating the monologues - recorded by Oscar Grano.
It's an honour to have been part of this project. Looking forward to it's premier in 2018.


"Little Theatre presents" short film by Jeff Stewart

Celtic Origins - October, 2017

Three out of four of my grandparents' family branches stem from Cornwall. Visiting the areas where my ancestors hail from during this month, has been a long time coming. To walk their respective village and coastal paths, breathe in the sea air and the landscapes where they lived gave me a profound sense of place.

It was richly inspiring. Much music is bubbling up. I keep hearing so many melodies and trying to catch them before they whisk away again.

Cape Cornwall

Never knowing what's next - August, 2017

An impromptu ensemble for a gig in Ticino (Italian speaking part of Switzerland) was great fun. Never ceases to amaze me that three musicians who havn't played together before, (nor share a language) can create music that works a charm!

Maia, MArc and Helen

Something fishy - July, 2017


Loved being asked if music from my first solo piano CD could be used for a film about fish...
You never know when your music is being heard; something comforting in that.

by Pete Lambshed

Travel Pack - May, 2017

Whether travelling for a gig up the road or internationally, it's remarkable how many instruments can fit into a bag... The tone colours in this travel pack are pretty comprehensive.



Australasian Playback theatre Gathering - April, 2017

During a trip to Australia this month, I joined the quite wonderful conference "Under Our Southern Skies" which operated using the Open Space Process. The conference, the process and the people made for a nourishing, inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable event. We even hooked up with the concurrent European Gathering and sung for each other - technology still amazes me.

I love experiencing the nuances and differences between interpreters of playback theatre. There's definitely an Aussie flavour that differentiates playback from the many European expressions of this fine art form.

Part of the "Open Space" process as
explained at the Hobart hosted Australasian PT Gathering, 2017

impro trio for playback-theatre - March, 2017

It's been two years since I was warmly welcomed into the "Naerrischen Alten" joining two other improvising musicians. Here we're co-creating a sound-track for the the acting troupe on stage (also improvisers)... And each of us (actors and musicians) are responding to a member of the audiences' interpretation of an artwork.
Quite complex.
A whole array of interconnectedness.

Maia, Martin and Helen

evolving ensembles - February, 2017

It's always a priviledge to work with other artists in our respective fields to create something together. BUt there's nothing quite like the joy of improvising with highly focussed people who manage to stay connected with each other throughout a piece of work.

This ensemble of theatre makers are called Die Naerrischen Alten. They are such a pleasure to work with.
And the combined skill set and experience amidst this (largely retired) group is mind blowing.
Lucky me!!


warm fuzzies - 'tis the season to be jolly' - December, 2016

At the end of each semester all my private students are invited to present two pieces they've been working on at a soirée workshop. After each student takes centre stage, presenting their works, they sit on the comfy chair to accept the 'warm fuzzies' from their audience coleagues (the audience members tell the performer something they liked). So the performer takes away a posy of the goodness they've shared via their musicking. Puts a smile on my dial every time :-)

Hoping you get some warm fuzzies during the Silly Season, and can share some around with loved ones or perfect strangers. Have a good one.



trendy lofts - October, 2016

We  - Fleurs de Sel - were blessed by the generosity and ingenuity of Martine, who hosted a house concert in her fantastic loft apartment this month. Sold out, there wasn't a spot left; and it was a great vibe in the space What a treat to have such a loved grand piano to play our programme! Bring on more house concerts - love the immediacy, the intimacy and being incredibly warmly welcomed into the inner sanctum of somebody's home.
Thank you Martine!


Feurs de Sel - hauskonzert, Zuriwest, Oktober 2016

country towns - September, 2016

Oh how I love country gigs. The people, the quiet, the warm hospitality, and the sense of community in the performance spaces amongst the audience - who usually know each other, (or of each other... or at least someone who knows someone else who knows of...). Loved the stories from the audiences to sound-paint to at this Salon; loved sound-painting to Linnet Hunter's compelling poetry and I loved running a vocal workshop with the enthusiastic local musical Mondays group... Such a pleasure to make music with local communities in country towns.


Gosh, we made the front page of the Birregurra local paper!
That's Linnet Hunter (text), me (music) performing in the old apple store
at the historic and pictureque Tarndwarncoort Homestead: what an incredible family!

Salon series - August, 2016

After months of planning with poet, Linnet Hunter, several skype rehearsals then finally meeting face to face, we could join the many artists performing at the "Words in Winter" festival in Daylesford. Great to be a part of this festival in my hometown, and to transform Linnet's poetry - and some audience's stories - into music.
I've been happily playing at this festival since 2003 and hope to continue


Instruments for the Salon Series 2016
"Life's Harvest" with Linnet Hunter

flying accross the world - July, 2016

Each year, I cross the globe from Switzerland's superb Summer to work in OZ during their cosy winter. Opposite seasons near opposite poles. The actual crossing is like entering a tunnel in a semi dreamstate (planes, airport transit lounges and more movies) between two worlds; then bingo, amidst the jet laggery, I come out the other end of the tunnel. So much is so different and so much is exactly the same. The longer I do this the more differences and the more sameness I experiences. With an affectionate nod to Julius Sumner Miller, I ask... "why is it so?"


I saw this brilliant image on a playback theatre webpage.
Unfortunately, the admin couldn't site the source, so I share it here
(appologetically) with uncredited respect to the artists involved.

connectivity - May, 2016

There is this thing about collaboration in projects that gives me a sense of bigness; not just the project content itself or the team activities, but the sense of connectivity. It's like a brighter resonance illuminating everything and everyone involved. I felt this, in the lead up and during a massive group exhibition this month (over 80 visual artists at a venue in the hills north of Zuerich), especially when sound-painting in response to selected artworks during a concert by Fleurs de Sel; 
In the photo below, you'll see the base of three giant easels built espeically for our concert. (two of the organisers whipped these easels up, just outside the venue in 20 mins flat...). And that was just one of the zillion mini projects needed to make up the macro exhibition and related events.


Sound-check for Fleurs de Sel at the art music event in Faellanden


närrischen Alten - April, 2016

Working in improvised performance art with a team requires alot of trust and respect for your fellow arts practioners. Playback-Theatre Ensemble "der närrischen Alten" welcomed me to their dynamic group in 2015. It's such a pleasure to work with these highly skilled and very experienced people. Thoroughly enjoy the depth of our training sessions - getting into the pith of the creative process with other arts practioners informs my own music making.
Next month we'll perform at an exhibition by Brigitte Wanzenried - "Bilder zum Flösserlied". Looking forward to sound-painting/story-musicking with the team to the artworks.


Rio abajo, rio abajo - Brigitte Wanzenried from
the "Bilder zum Flösserlied" exhibition, 2016, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Anniversary greetings to my buddy - March, 2016

This is my buddy. We've been an item for 8 years this month - and although I'll never know her past, (hail Annie Proulx's "Accordion Crimes"), I like to think that we met just at the right moment in time for our fine friendship to seed and grow.

The more I work with this buddy of mine the more I love her sound and feel - and even the look of her. I'm astounded by her versatility and have been inspired to compose and improvise a huge range of music with her.

And... having started my instrumental love affairs with pianos, (this buddy's bigger siblings) I celebrate her compact self. Venue doesn't have a piano? No problem, instead of lugging a 25 kg stage piano (or a half a ton of grand piano...), I can just pop a handful of small percussion instruments into my buddy's case and bounce off to the gig on public transport! Now THAT tickles my fancy.

Happy anniversary little buddy.

Helen's buddy

New Repertoire - February, 2016

"Fleurs de Sel" have developed fresh repertoire for our new programme. Lots of enjoyable twists and turns in the process of refining the new pieces.

So far the most difficult moment has been deciding which pieces not to play in upcoming concerts. Its hard to push loved pieces out of a set list. We thoroughly enjoy the whole collaboration. Lucky us :-)


My repertoire folio for "Fleurs de Sel".


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