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Helen Davey: news

Happy 2016 - January, 2016

 

Annual leave on our family property in S.E. Australia, has meant I've had time for things other than musicking.

I've appreciated making a different kind of art for a change; I loved incorporating tiles in this mosaic depicting the seven children who were raised on this property (the centre point), and surrounding them with fragments for my own family lineage. A complete break from my music has been refreshing and inspiring.


Hope you've had a break too.
Wishing you and yours an expansive year ahead.


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up up and away - December, 2015

2015 has been a musically satisfying year for me consolidating my various projects. I've also felt enriched with the process of nurturing others' music making through my private teaching and workshops.

Now it's time to dream about the things I'll work toward next year and put my energy into making them happen.

Wishing you a Merry Silly Season.

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Sunrise over Lake Daylesford, S.E. Australia, with the Wombat State Forest in the background.

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Bach's Boots - November, 2015

One of my pieces from my Project "Fleur de Sel" with Ruth Bieri.
This tune is called "Bach's Boots", acknowledging the musician's who've gone before me, influencing my ears and hands as I create my own music.



Fleurs de Sel: "Bach's Boots", Ruth Bieri (Sax), Helen Davey (piano)

 

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connection - October, 2015

I've been working with several theatre groups the past months, in the land of improvisation ("playback theatre Zurich", "älte närrische", "glücksklee"). The spontaneity and audience interaction generated with each of these theatre groups, has an immediacy about each performance that is quite unique. I love creating the sound track for these performances.

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snowtime in OZ - August, 2015

Had a great time Downunder, working during August around Central Victoria with story teller Anne E Stewart. Annee is fun to work with and aside from the stories we'd prepared, I particularly loved performing one with Annee that I'd never heard before: Sheer delight musicking a sound-track for a story as it unfolds.

As with musicking to improvised theatre or sounding to a film, I love that the alchemy of the artforms appear as one and can never happen the same way again. It's instant access to seeing/hearing/breathing the essence of life.

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Anne E Stewart (story teller) and me after performing at the Words in Winter festival at the Grande Hotel, Hepburn Springs. Thanks for this photo Lee Merzel


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Waltzer - June, 2015

Ruth Bieri's beautiful "Waltzer" is featured in this video as part of our joint project, Fleurs de Sel.


"Walzter", Ruth Bieri (piano), Helen Davey (accordion).

 

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Synergy - March, 2015

Good to be back in the studio with Ruth Bieri this month, recording a demo. We have been preparing original material for our string and reed project that we hope to bring to the stage later this year.

The synergy is superb. We began meeting for regular rehearsals some years ago, each bringing compositions we felt the other would be able to add something to. It is a magical thing to hear your own music evolving into something far richer than it could ever be without the input of someone else's capable hands. I love this process of refining our respective works and feel honoured to be working with such a fine musician. 

 

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exiting our comfort zones - February, 2015



Thinking about getting out of our comfort zone.... in our work, navigating our relationships, in experiencing something AMAZING about the world etc, etc... I am often overwhelmed by just how lasting an impression it makes on us to revel in - because we've crossed a boundary and learnt something new. 

In 2014, I had many of these moments creating sound-paintings in musical genres out of my comfort zone. One of my favorite pieces created last July was in response to the photomontage work of Dariusz Klimczak, "Journey 2". It was a surreal piece of art, so required an eerie piece of music to capture it's essence. I entered new musical territory and am proud of what I made. So the point is to keep doing it cause that's where the magic happens :-)

 

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(artwork source:Simone Schwegler's facebook page)


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A puzzling pause - September, 2014



Unfortunately due to health reasons, I’ve had to have a break in my beloved
“Project 52 Sound-Paintings”.
I will pick up from where I left off, just as soon as I’m able.


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Van Gough - "Room in Arles"


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Words in Winter Festival - August, 2014



A highlight of returning to OZ for the month of August was to perform at the Words in Winter Festival with poet Linnet Hunter. Linnet launched her latest collection of poems "Words and Flesh". It was a warm audience for a chilly Winter's day and the staff at the Grande Hotel in Hepburn Springs (S.E. Australia) did everything to make it cosy and welcoming.


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contrasts - July, 2014

I'm loving the contrasts that I'm encountering both as a viewer (of art works) and as a musician (composer/improviser) in my Project 52. This month I've sound-painted for sculpture, photomontage, hand-dyed garments and feather art

As a viewer, I'm blown away by the diversity of what we artists choose to make. The scope is breathtaking. Musically, I have delighted in the challenge of musically "illustrating" what I feel is the essence of the art. 
Below is a detailed image of the hand dyed silk garments of India Flint, from her exhibition "Seven Daughters, Seven Sisters". 

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NEW CD!! Project 52: June Solstice - June, 2014


"52 Sound-Paintings - Volume two", is officially launched June 21, 2014. It is the second digital CD I have released in 2014!
YAY!!
 

Each of the 13 tracks is a sound-painting of my responses to 13 different artists' works, making up the weeks 14 - 26 of Project "52 Sound-paintings" .  Participating artists and the title of my sound-painting track for weeks 14 -26:

You can hear and purchase the CD here   

To view all of the artworks on one page go here

But you might prefer to read what the artists have to say and see their wonderful artworks (while listening to my music). At the link below, you'll see the right sidebar has the weekly listing of each of the artist's in project "52 Sound-Paintings". Click any of those weeks to view the artwork, read commentaries from the artists and check their links while listening to the music. Hope you enjoy the art and my music. Here's that link


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virtual VS. live - May 6, 2014



My online project, "52 Sound-Paintings" has been a fantastic learning curve in many areas:

  •  Musically  - my compositional, songwriting, playing and improvisational development;

  • my audio production knowledge and experience;

  • becoming savvy in 5 new technical platforms;

  • reflecting on my own creative process;

  • discovering many different historical developments, techniques, and concepts in the arts and how these have impacted music;

What a goldmine!!! I just love all this learning and the weekly structure!

Coming out of my "on-my-onesome" studio for rehearsals to prepare for a concert this month has been a highlight. Ruth Bieri and I premiered six of our original compositions as part of the "Wärme Mai Festival" in Zürich on May 15th. It was enriching and inspiring to play with Ruth and to enjoy performing live sound-paintings for our warm-as-toast audience. Once project 52 is completed at the end of 2014, I'm looking forward to regular live performances again.


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"Takes Two" performing at Theatre 62 as part of the Wärme Mai Festival, Zürich 2014.


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navigation - April, 2014

All of the work of 52 keeps me VERY happily ensconced in my studio: exploring appropriate sound sources, writing lyrics, composing themes, the audio work of recording, the techy stuff of uploading once I've created/recorded/mixed the audio and written the blog notes...

Aside from the joy of making music and all that goes into the sound-painting process, I've loved meeting the artists and discussing their processes, their sources of inspiration and what drives them with their work. It's been enlightening and somehow comforting to hear how other artists grapple with the delicacies of navigating our respective creative pathways.

Thematically I've thoroughly enjoyed being stretched to produce music that evokes different times and places and emotional states of being that emanate from the artworks in project 52. There are so many discoveries to make along the way.

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March Equinox CD - March, 2014

I'm so proud to announce the release of my first digital CD this March equinox.  HOOOORAY!!

"52 Sound-Paintings - Volume one", is the first of FOUR digital Cds I will release within 12 months, in line with the seasonal solstices and equinox dates. Each CD will have 13 tracks, (although I've included a bonus track in the first CD) each track is a sound-painting of the 13 artists from those respective 13 weeks of the project.

Participating artists and the title of my sound-painting track for weeks 1-13:

week 1: Kathryn Portelli  - "Trumpets in Tutus"
week 2: Helen Hiebert  - "Threads"
week 3: Petrus Spronk - "Ephemeral Stones"
Week 4: Ann Lewis  - "Gallinago"
week 5: Guillaume Apollinaire - "The Bridge"
week 6: Cornelius Cardew - "Page 52"
week 7: Bronle Crosby - "Stillness"
week 8: Felice Panagrosso - "Time Passes"
week 9: Jenifer Hetherington - "Faith"
Week 10: Casey Klahn - "Waterpath to the Ocean"
week 11: Maggie Ruley - "Secrets from a Mermaid's Comb"
week 12: Jim Carpenter - "Heart to Heart"
week 13: Gerda Tobler  - "Kissing your Muse"
week 0: Nature's canvas (bonus track) - "Foggy Field"

You can hear and purchase the CD here   

To view all of the artworks on one page go here

But you might prefer to read what the artists have to say and see their wonderful artworks (while listening to my music). At the link below, you'll see the right sidebar has the weekly listing of each of the artist's in project "52 Sound-Paintings". Click any of those weeks to view the artwork, read commentaries from the artists and check their links while listening to the music. Hope you enjoy the art and my music. Here's that link

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home hopping - February, 2014

I've thoroughly enjoyed my 3 weeks annual leave and am now back into the swing of my project 52. Next month on March 21st, I'll have reached the first quarter of the project. To date, I've created ten sound-paintings to these art forms:

       Mosaic,

       Hand-made paper object

       Poem,

       Ceramic bowl,

       Lino cut

       Graphic notation,

       X2 oil Paintings,

       Flash fiction,

       Pastel painting...

It's been inspiring, fun, often thrilling and at times challenging - especially the administration! I've thrived on the chats with the artists, not to mention researching, creating, recording and tweaking the weekly sound-paintings. The tremendous support and generosity of the online audience has been humbling. To that end, I'll mark the first quarter with a milestone of the artistic variety. Stay tuned for the marker.

Meanwhile, I am always blown away by the striking contrast between Australia and Switzerland, particularly at this time of year.  It's incredible to straddle both places within a day. From the hot, bushfire threatened, dry, red/orange/golds of OZ...

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... to the cold, avalanche augured & water-rich, beauty of the blue-indigos in Switz... 

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It is a treat for the senses to say the least!  These two places are my homes and homes away from homes... hopping between them is moving from one paradise to the next! What a magnificant canvas is the art of Nature.

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highlights and hallowed ground - January, 2014

Pedalling the treadmill of self promotion as an independent musician is like any business owner:  we can stay on that treadmill without taking a break because there are no scheduled holidays. There's nobody to run the business when you're away, so you continue to staff the phone/email etc and there is just such a lot of etc to be done….

Being at our property in rural Australia this Summer was like some profound rite of passage away from that treadmill. Special circumstances lined up this trip home, that hit me between the eyes with a life lesson that I'd learnt long ago, but somehow had lost along the way: savour the moments with the people you cherish most...

And so I did.

There were so many highlights with family and friends, so many milestones to celebrate - like 30 wonderful years with my life partner and the 90th birthday of my mother for starters! There was so much to revel in: relaxing with friends, snuggles with the cat, playing in our garden, enjoying watching the magnificent array of birds, blissing out swimming after the heat of the day, walking in the cool of the mornings, staring at beautiful views or just into space…  and being oh so grateful  for all of it. This was paradise on a stick!

I had the sense that life is like an endless conveyor belt of goodness and enrichment wrapped up as gifts for the taking... It's an AMAZING thing to get off that treadmill, to partake of the goodies on that conveyor belt and to consciously  smell the roses. 

I suppose most people are pretty savvy when it comes to taking time off  (not living to work, but rather working to live…). Looking back over my life, I remember now, that I'd worked that out years ago, but somehow lost sight of this little pearl of wisdom in recent years.

I am indebted to a dear friend for enlightening me to this again. What a privilege it was, to be in OZ and be able to spend those precious hours with him at such a critical point in his life. I am so grateful for that time, this lesson and for having known such a fine man. 

Thinking of you whenever I see sunflowers Leo… with love.

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moving forward - oh Yeah! - December, 2013

Don't you love this time of year for looking back at what you've accomplished? Life is so rich and full that sometimes I think we forget to take note of all that we do manage. I forget unless I take the time to write it down for myself - the personal and professional achievements - and this year I am pretty chuffed with it all.

Here are some of my professional highlights for the year (in no particular order):

- staging another Salon Series in Australia during August
- composing and recording a dozen new original works (vocal and instrumental)
- regular rehearsals and developing new material with "Takes Two"
- taking further vocal training in the Estill method in the Netherlands

- launching my Project 52 Sound-Paintings and working with the participating artists
- deepening my improvisational studies via voice, movement and music impro workshops (in Australia & Switzerland).
- collaborating with other artists to develop our business strategies
- completing another level of German language studies (gulp).
- fostering my private students' (voice, piano, song-writing) musical development

- exploring percussion through a series of Taketina workshops
- joining Facebook and connecting with lots of interesting people

All of these things involve others: I feel so blessed to be working with fine people who enrich my life!
Thanks for popping in here and taking an interest in my creative work and...where ever you are and which ever way you're heading, wishing you a fantastic year ahead in the big 2014. Cheery pips, Helen

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5..4..3..2..1.. BLAST OFF!
- November, 2013

 

The past few months, I've been riding on a BIG learning curve, researching and trialling various systems to prepare for my Project "52 Sound-Paintings". As it's largely a series of online events, there's been lots of systems & software to explore and choices to make.      

The best bit about the preparations has been connecting up with the artists (often skyping) to meet and discuss their works and process. It's been invigorating, inspiring and so interesting to hear these people's stories. I've had to get pretty organised to juggle all the info required for the 52 weeks, to ensure smooth running of the project. My office wall looks like this (and that's the tidy part!):

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I'm thrilled to be working with such a wide range of artists. It's a privilege to discuss art works that I love with the individual artists, then to respond musically. The support and encouragement for the project, has been quite overwhelming. I am very grateful for that. 

Happy to say that despite quite some techy glitches, the project has been launched with a bottle of bubbles - MY kind of bubbles - and you can check out the art and music over at my blog page here .

Fresh ART and MUSIC each week, paired up by their relationship in the sensorial realm! I hope you'll pop by to enjoy this very big part of my creative life for the next 52 weeks.

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Sounds of Silence
- October, 2013

 

One of the (many) reasons I decided on this project is because my studio working hours were drastically reduced back in May of this year, due to a building site; Six months ago, the neighbouring property turned into a VERY LOUD and busy hub of heavy vehicles and building site activity. The tranquil garden of our rented premises became the access road for the earth moving equipment, a MASSIVE crane and worker's huts... What was once a perfect, forest edged retreat for recording, turned into audio mayhem. 

I needed to find a way of creating pieces that were short and sweet because the only window I had was during the workers' meal breaks; I realised if I created short pieces of music between 2 and 5 minutes long during their morning smoko, I could still add further layers (other tracks/sounds) to the piece during the worker's lunch and afternoon breaks.


Guess who hung a sign outside the front door (in German) saying "quiet please baby asleep" ! 

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these photos are taken from my studio window.

Earlier this year, I'd been mulling over the idea for a new recording project: I was wanting to expand my sound-painting practice to involve other artists, and to have the opportunity to RECORD my sound-paintings rather than performing them LIVE, as improvised works at galleries & museums. At some point, my 52nd birthday refined the numbers thing in my mind further so that 5 + 2 loomed as significant. Project "52 Sound-paintings" was born. 

It was a great turning point for me to shift my perspective from the building site being an obstacle (aurally speaking) into something positive and challenging. I am still choosing to get a kick out of fitting the recordings into the worker's tea breaks /lunch times... Each time I complete a piece within their breaks, it really does put a smile on my face :-) 

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"52 sound-paintings"
- September, 2013

 

September? Well, there's been concerts and rehearsals..., comings and goings...., Autumn's E-quinox (and Spring's if you're Downunder)..., and LOTS of fun frollicking about as I prepare for my latest project "52 sound-paintings":

 

In case you couldn't hear my whispers, Project "52 sound-paintings" will happen as a weekly series of online, cross-arts events, running for 52 weeks from this coming November 28th.

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catching themes & dreams
- August, 2013

 

Have you ever been at an exhibition and witnessed a painting fall …only to be rescued  within seconds of hitting the floor by it’s own artist?  A room of people saw this happen at the Convent Gallery (Daylesford, Australia) during this years’ Words in Winter festival!  To set the scene, there we were… enjoying the experience of a Salon event to celebrate the mixed exhibition of Ngaere Guyatt (assemblage artist), Mark Payne (painter) and Kristin diemer (photographer).

Mark Payne had been interviewed by Arts advocate Gerry Katz, now the audience was asked to choose one of Mark’s pieces and describe what it made them feel, what were their associations gleened from the artwork and why….

A guy in the audience chose one of Mark’s paintings called “the dream catcher” . He shared his thoughts about the picture with the audience, talking about the sub conscious, dreams and the symbolic contrasts of human experience visible in the painting that triggered his own interpretation of the work.

Now it was my turn to sound-paint this audience member’s engagement with "the dream catcher" into music. I wanted to have a broad spectrum of tone colour to convey what he’d expressed, so I selected my accordion because of it’s reedy range from fragile to gutsy, from dissonance to soothing…

and then it happenend...

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Around 40 seconds into my sound-painting, suddenly there was a commotion in the room. I looked up to see a startled audience gaping in the direction of the “the Dream Catcher” and Mark Payne running toward his painting. Unbelievably, the picture had begun to tilt on it’s easel and was falling forward. Fortunately, Mark was able to catch his dream catcher just in time. Needless to say, everyone in the room found it pretty eerie…They do say truth is stranger than fiction…

Aside from this adventure, the exhibition and Salons were a feast for the senses with wonderful input from our audiences. We artists are so grateful to Gallery director Tina Banitska for her overwhelming generosity and support of the Salon Series. With special thanks also to Liam Thronycroft, Petrus Spronk, Nel Staite, Susan and Eric Zehrung, Barbara Webb, Lisa Red, Fiona McCarthy, Cherie Bridges and Claudia, for their kind assistance.

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Super Salon
- July, 2013

 

Concerts, Soirees and Birthdays are the flavour of this month in the lead up to the Swiss Summer Holidays. But Downunder the winter chill has set in and that's where I'll be heading at the end of July for the Words in Winter festival. It's a delightful cosy affair, with a rich programme that seeks to celebrate words in all their forms in dozens of venues across central Victoria.

People come from everywhere to listen, to write, to speak and to read in cafes, theatres, churches and halls. I'm looking forward to presenting my third Salon Series downunder, this time with three visual artists -  who will be speaking about their works - at the wonderful Convent Gallery in Daylesford.

Hoping to catch up with friends and family and relax around the winter firesides... will you be there?

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graphics by Vivienne Hamilton

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The Moon in June - June, 2013

On June 23, the moon was at its closest distance to Earth for 2013 while in its full phase —apparantly known as a supermoon. Isn't is gas we can find out about that kind of thing and check it out online the next day from all over the globe! Don't you love the internet for that.

Throughout the lead up time to the supermoon, together with several artists we have developed an exhibition and supersalon! As part of the Words in Winter festival in South Eastern Australia, we'll present three salon events to complement a mixed exhibition of the three visual artists' works.

We'll be joined at the Salons by artist advocate Gerry Katz who will interview the artists about their processes. The audience will be asked to chip in with their responses to the artworks so I can sound paint in response to their comments and the art works. What a thrill: the engagement with the art is one big collaborative cross-arts event, from image to text to sound!

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supermoon superphoto: felipe Trueba

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steps - May, 2013

This month my focus has been collaborating with other artists to realise two main projects: developing new instrumental works for Takes Two (Fleur de Sel); finalising details for the Salon Series in Australia's Winter; 

Even though some of the outcomes are a long way off  (in time and distance), the anticipation of taking those steps, one at a time to get to where you like to go is the magic of process.

The synergy has been fantastic. Like tracks in the snow that become invisible once it's melted away, collaborative sparks help to mark out the signposts of where you've been. It's good to look back at how far you've moved, one step, note or word at a time.

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photo - the Bahnster

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