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Helen Davey: news

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


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!):


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.


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" ! 

 buildingsite_190x190.png       building_site2_330_x_340_cropped.png 
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 :-) 


"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.


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...


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.


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?


graphics by Vivienne Hamilton


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!


supermoon superphoto: felipe Trueba


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.


photo - the Bahnster


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...


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