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Helen Davey: news

the lore of ringing at six - April, 2013

OK so here's your Swissy history lesson for the month... "Sechselaeuten" is a Spring festival in Zurich on the third Monday of April. It is pronounced to Anglos in Swiss german as "sacksi-loot-eh" and means literally to "ring six" that is, at 6pm. The old name refers to a medieval tradition - dating back to 1525 - when at the March equinox, the working day was delayed from 5 until 6pm. It was marked by the 6pm ringing of church bells.

These days in Zurich, to continue this tradition there is a a very colourful procession of the old guilds - people marching or on horse back, dressed in guild and related costumes - to the Sechselaeutenplatz or square. Once they arrive at the square, the "Booog" awaits them: a giant figure of a snowman (whose head is full of fire crackers), symbolising the Winter.  The "Boooog" (another 'O' is more fun to say) is perched on top of a massive bonfire which is lit at 6pm. According to tradition, the faster the Booog's head explodes, the better the Summer. 

You got to dig stuff like that. The Swissies LOVE to celebrate an event - all the more when it has to do with driving away the Winter! 

Here's to celebrating the good things. Happy Spring things and marking events that matter to you.


photo by David Vogel


shedding skins - March, 2013

During February and March I set time aside for further training. Despite a few bumpy bits, I'm feeling much better for it. Integrating the new stuff often means shedding our old skin... which can feel pretty uncomfortable. I envisage these skins as the gossamery veils we shed with the winds of our own changes. 

Ngaere Guyatt - an artist creating "assemblages" of discarded, weathered wood and rusted metal - speaks to this theme in her current exhibition Rust in Peace. 


Ngaere Guyatt's "Etchings of Experience"


flow and discipline - February, 2013

After a month in Australia's off-the-record-temperatures, with her tinder dry, pulsing heat-baked earth, it was a relief to arrive back to Switzerland's dreamy snowscapes of brittle stillness, soft-tread quietness ... and the the mysteries of tracks in the snow.

I have been revelling in the wintryness of nature's invitation for introspection... and am enjoying working on new material. Finding the balance between working "in the flow" and being disciplined enough to get there is quite a challenge but frankly an absolute joy. 



New Beginnings - January, 2013

I wonder where you are? I'm on annual leave in my home town of Daylesford, South Eastern Australia. It's 7:30 am with a clear, pale blue sky with a soft pink layer at the horizon. We're heading for another day of total fire ban - it'll reach 37°C. Perched here high up on Argus Hill, you can look out at 180°of the seemingly endless and wonderful Wombat State Forest.

Our sun has just slowly kissed the Lake of Daylesford and the birds are busy: Magpies (striking black and white); Currawongs; white Corellas; jet black Ravens; Sulphur Crested Cockatoos (with their crazy yellow mohawks); their cousin Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos; ruby red & midnight blue Eastern Rosellas and emerald green Lorikeets (sigh); They're doing their morning thing. It's SO colourful visually as well as aurally!

Due to the heat, the Gang Gangs Cockatoos have come in to eat the Hawthorn berries earlier than usual this year and the plums, apples, pears, elder and raspberries in this garden are already ripening for an early harvest. The ground is so parched, herbs have already yielded up their flower heads to seed... We are all waiting for rain. Yet despite the searing heat and dryness, there's so much life etching it's way forward. So much beauty to marvel at and be inspired by. Here's 60 seconds of the dawn chorus, recorded on our verandah, at 5:30 am.

Dawn Chorus Daylesford_January 2013

Wishing you good beginnings and much inspiration for 2013.



thanks to you... - December, 2012

Many thanks to everyone who has supported my musicking throughout 2012.

It's been an expansive year for me artistically in each of my three preferred musical genres, (singer-songwriter, sound-painting and experimental music making).  Among the highlights for me have been: 

- the launch of my "Carvings" CD, culminating with my Swiss trio travelling ALL the way to Australia for our tour in February;  

- expanding my Sound-Painting Salons in Australia during August and introducing the first of my Salons in Switzerland during October; 

- completing the "Trans-Lations" CD in December.  

Each project has been richly rewarding for me, and i'm grateful to have been able to take each of these projects to another level, together with other artists who are willing to take creative risks. Often, it's been like jumping off a cliff and trusting I'll /we'll land safely... All of the continued support, encouragement and confirmations from audiences that this work is meaningful to them makes my work incredibly fullfilling.

Hoping the year has ended well for you, wherever you are and again, Thank-you.                                                             


photo Eric Zehrung.


NEW CD - "Tran-Lations" - November, 2012

here it it... the audio part of this Very fun and Very collaborative, Very cross-arts women's project.

it's been a delight to work on this project together with these creative women. The CD will be ready by Christmas. here's a preview of the cover art.



Taking a leap - October, 2012

During October, a highlight for me was the launch of my Salon Series in Switzerland, at the beautiful Bellerive au Lac. It was especially exciting as Rebecca Lister, a performance partner from previous Salons in Australia, was here in Zurich for just 24 hours. It was too good an opportunity to miss.

This salon - "where words meet music" was text based, so I could sound-track my way through Rebecca’s monologues and do some sound-paintings to audience stories. it was a test run for swiss audiences. there will be further salons with artists from different art forms: photographers, painters, puppeteers, performers with mask...



not fitting in with the crowd - September, 2012

I really enjoyed the premier performance of "takes Two" with Ruth Bieri this month. This project showcases our respective works, blending instrumental and song material that has been described by one audience member as: "...poetic and filmic, this music has a spheric quality...".  There were also some terrific stories from the audience to respond to with my sound-paintings. thank-you to the story tellers. Ruth and I will be working on expanding our programme during the autumn months.

In the music industry, 15 words or less is what marketing experts recommend musicians should have at the ready, to describe their U.S.P.   I find it difficult to convey in a sentence what my sound-paintings are, and what happens between the audience in the performance space during the process... especially the process of being carried to a shared *somewhere-ness. I'll keep working on that U.S.P. description:

transpersonal musicking...

sound-tracking stories...

into-stories, instant-sound...

  • Somewhere-ness: an unknown place we travel to as we ingest stories, simultaneously juxtaposed by our interpretation and experience.



salons with petrus spronk - August, 2012

I'm just back from a great time downunder in wintery OZ-land where i was participating in the "Words in Winter" festival, to present my Salon Series with four other writers/performers.  I so enjoy sharing the stage with other artists, providing a musical dialogue with their works. In this Salon Series, I particularly enjoyed some of the stories volunteered by the audience for my sound-paintings and the magic that happened in the room during those segments. it's like the antithesis of solitaire.

here's some video footage of one of the salons with Petrus Spronk, in the beautiful Convent Gallery Chapel in Daylesford, Australia. The video was filmed and edited by marc eiden at ABC open. Thanks marc.




wintry snuggledom - July, 2012

august in central victoria will be full of wintry words of wisdom, mischief and mirth as words are celebrated in all of their forms during the words in winter festival 2012.  i'm looking forward to working with petrus spronk, rebecca lister, joanne davis and terrry jaensch in this years' celebrations. i'll provide music in response to their respective texts and performance modalities. 

see more details on the events page.



moving ahead - June, 2012


This month, we gals have been pushing forward with our multi-generational, cross-arts project, "trans-lations".  we worked this month finalising the audio for our upcoming CD.  the music responds to the photographs of Ruth Stadelmann - the octogenarian onboard this all-women's project.    



are we connected? - May, 2012

con-nect.... discon-nect..... re-connect...                               cone-e-e-c-t....  con-nect-work.... work-net... cyber-net...

           net-nische.... nische-me...... noose-you.... market-my.... blue-tooth...  what-tooth?...                                            who's-tooth? my-tooth...  your-tooth.... tooth-tube..... tube-you.... me-tube...                                              who's-tube?.... my-lube.... true-dude.... 

                    me-net... net-bet.... safe-bet... bet-net.... face-me... my-net... fish-book... net-book... book-face....          see-spy...  spy-my....  cyber-spy....  my-cyber...   work-cyber... work-smart... smart-con.... you-con.... con-me.... what a con!.... who's con? ...

oh come-on!...

no really...

who's con? 




artwork - kim crowder and leo reynolds (source Anne McCrossan)


study time - April, 2012

i'm having fun working again on the "trans-lations" (cross-arts, multi generational womens) project, plus doing some long awaited study.

happy spring things (or autumnal ones, 'pending which side of the E you're on).




whirling blurr - March, 2012




the australian tour was a fantastic whirling blurr of coulour  - i 'm taking some time to process, ponder and savour ... before getting back to work. (well, study actually...)



OZ tour - some impressions - February, 2012


the OZ tour was FABULOUS in a word.  there were many highlights - like sound-painting to kristen diemer's sublime exhibition "a dingo fence and mallee roots".....,wonderful gigs with the trio..., and happy audience responses from benalla to ballarat, which really makes it all worthwhile:


HD trio, wesley anne, melbourne.



45downstairs, melbourne.  kristen diemer's shearing shots in background.

(photo, courtesy david simmonds)



house concert, daylesford, australia

(sorry, some audience missing...)



OZ tour... woohhhooooo! - January, 2012

everything is coming together really well with organising the tour - instruments, gigs, accomodation, vehicles... thanks to clay ravin, anne E stewart, david dore, and  tim phillips for their invaluable help.

just 6 sleeps to go: i'm thoroughly looking forward to heading downunder to take in some sun, catch up with friends and family and to gig the carvings programme with my trio.  

hope to see you there!


photo: richard nussbaumer


new cd "carvings" - December, 2011

here she is - and worth the wait.

many people to thank...

all orders welcome...


cyber-hugs - November, 2011

november blurred into october workwise, compounded by weeks of computer issues while completing mixing for my "carvings" cd.  but! so many people have worked like trojans to ensure this cd's safe delivery, it's humbling. 

amidst all the work stuff, a significant birthday happened for me. the letters and gifts and texts and emails arrived like cyber-hugs to wish me well on my next trip around the sun. i have so enjoyed sharing all the treasure chests of memories with friends & family. it's like being wrapped in something soft and warm and kind. when reliving certain moments we remembered together, sometimes it felt as though time stood still . i love how memory can do that.



computer crash - October, 2011

everything was going along fine with rough mixing... "two sets of keys" .... - more mixing..., "footsteps" ..., did i mention mixing? ..., rehearsals..., mixing..., gig...,mixing.., and then it happenend:

external hard disc crashed on sunday..

OMG .....chaos...

then 6 days latter, the laptop hard disc died.

my world went blank



edits, o'dubs,... - September, 2011


this is a screenshot of the music programme i'm using to edit the recordings we did at lakeside studio.








plans for OZ tour - August, 2011



how exciting!

sourcing all of our instruments is the tricky bit as there's only so much one can cram into a 20kg flight luggage limit.

thanks to cherie bridges, neil hodgson, david dore, adrian kosky, bryn hills, john davey, gary thomas, andy vogel and viv hamilton for their generosity, help and advice with the logistics to date... it's made a huge difference already. can't wait to show off the handsome gentlemen in my trio to the aussies.


overdubs from the music pantry - July, 2011

the great thing about doing overdubs is you can splash all the sounds for a song that you hear in your head onto one canvass and ponder the result...  i love having the possibility to play all the instruments i want to hear,  adding the vocal lines here and there if i fancy... then the selection process - stripping it back again to what's really needed for the essence of the song. it's like playing in my pantry...



mandarine tinges - video - June, 2011

this song is called "mandarine tinges" with david aebli (double bass) and ferdi rauber (percussion). it's a song about my continuing affair with a beautiful grand piano (1896 bluethner). thanks to sonia bischoff for her filming work and tech support.



to click or not to click. - May, 2011

here's a little ditty that jumped onto the computer the morning after we'd been to the recording studio... it's about the debate regarding whether to use a click track or not. 



to click or not to click...


footsteps... little boy blue.

pizza ovens, s’veeri

coffee for you?

Mandolins and 12 strings

carving who we are

mandarine-sounds in my wishing jar,

(chanted underneath this stanza: 76, 92, 104, 83 ),

double time, half speed, what will it be?

hold still now, two sets of keys.

waiting in circles, be what it will !

"qu'ils mangent de la brioche" if you please.


click, clack, paddyclack, wackaplocka kick!

betwixt and between...beside it, behind it

watery ripples take it out of focus.

up beat, down beat, hocus pocus

which beat ? where’s the beat?

Who’s beat? What’s a beat?

oh my god - I’m done

in fact, I'M BEAT !






musical gardens - April, 2011

april has been as exciting in the garden, as it has in the music room.  there has been a flurry of things to organise for the next self-release album: rewriting texts, charts and arrangements for recordings in june; considering graphics, manufacturer and distribution; lining up pre-recordings dates & extra rehearsals; scheduling the studio days (gasp); deciding whether to click or not to click (as in the click track); plus working with the wonderful musician and producer, christoph stiefel - what a privilege that is!

ok back to the music room... happy spring to you.




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