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The St. Chartier Festival is a traditional music festival where bagpipe players and hurdygurdy players have been meeting since medieval times. This is where Helm members met Dee, Maria, and Trixy.
Gilded Serpent presents...
Helm takes
Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe
by Ling Shien Bell

Based in Marin County California, Helm is a six member band that has become known because of  its folk and original works using traditional Arabic instruments and rhythms, and specializing in Tribal accompaniment. The band has been the musical complement to several of the better-known tribal dance troupes, Fat Chance Belly Dance and Hahbi Ru, to name a couple of them.

These special and inspired musicians will be conducting a series of rhythm/music workshops this April in Ireland, Spain, and Luxembourg. The Helm workshops will be sponsored by local Tribal Belly dancers along with additional support in Ireland from the Cork County Council (Cork being the E.U. Cultural City for 2005) and in Spain from Devorah (of the Devorah Dance Company).

Playfully titled "Rhythm Diatribes", Helm's workshops are designed to deepen understanding of Middle Eastern music by teaching various rhythms typically used and how each is employed in musical compositions.

Techniques for Arabic percussion instruments and zils are slated to be taught as well. Helm's impressive repertoire includes musical selections from the classical and folkloric heritage of both Arab and Turkish cultures and some of Helm's original compositions.

Mark and Ling Shien Bell met Dee Cotter from Ireland, Maria Cresswell from Spain, and Trixy Mehlinger from Luxembourg at a traditional music festival held annually in St. Chartier, France.

The dancers were already familiar with Helm's music, and after an impromptu dance class and rehearsal, they all performed together in the village square later on the same night that they met, with Helm being joined by an excellent percussionist, Dimitri Dupont.

Plans were soon hatched after that experience for offering Rhythm Diatribes workshops to their students; the student response to the plans were very positive and the project is now becoming a reality. Each workshop will end with a hafla! (Incidentally, the hafla being planned for Girona, Spain, will be a benefit for the Tsunami disaster.)

Helm will be keeping us posted on updates as the tour unfolds, depending on Internet their access.

Rhythm Diatribes 2005 Tour Itinerary-

  • April 6-13, Ireland- report received and will be posted soon!
  • April 14-20, Spain
  • April 20-23, France
  • April 23-24, Luxemborg

Click here for more information to attend any of the workshops.

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More to come!


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