New Orleans based cellist Helen Gillet (b.1978) grew up in Belgium , Chicago and Singapore beginning her cello studies in 1987. She received a Bachelor’s degree in music from Beloit College ( Wisconsin ) and a Master’s of Music degree from Loyola University ( Louisiana ). She first studied improvisation in 1998 with North Indian Classical cellist Nancy Lesh. Gillet moved to New Orleans in 2002 and began performing with James Singleton (3now4rkestra), Johnny Vidacovich, Brian Coogan, Rob Wagner, Dave Capello, Jimmy Hobbs, Tim Green and groups such as the Improvisational Arts Council, the Naked Orchestra, Diesel Combustion Orchestra, the Arabic-jazz fusion group Mafouz and New Orleans New Music Ensemble.
She performs regularly at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Chaz Fest, The French Quarter Festival, and the New Orleans Noize Fest. Among the many talented musicians outside of New Orleans she has had the pleasure of working with are Hamid Drake, Frank Gratkowski, Georg Graewe, Mark Sutherland, Scott Bourgeois, Wilbert de Joode, Rob Masurek, Fred Lonberg-Holmes and Chicago’s Tomorrow Music Orchestra. Gillet is releasing her French Band Wazozo’s debut album in May of 2009.
Helen Gillet can be heard on a wide variety of recording projects, including the Ed Sanders 2007 “Poems for New Orleans” recorded by the award winning Mark Bingham at Piety Records. Other recent recording projects include James Singleton’s String Quartet “Gold Bug Crawl” (2008) and a ballad recording with the great New Orleans trumpeter Leroy Jones entitled “Sweeter than a Summer Breeze” (spring 2009). When she is not recording or performing, she enjoys teaching improvisation-based soundtrack, beat box, and ukulele classes as well as private cello students.
Helen Gillet uses electromagnetic effects, looping and vocal percussion to explore sound as well as the wide range of natural sounds possibly drawn, knocked, rubbed, sensed, bounced, scraped, plucked, and sung out through the acoustic cello. (nolafunguide.com)
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