12:30pm / April, 8th 2017View Map
Jazz-based cellist, singer, composer and improviser Helen Gillet grew up in Belgium, Singapore, Chicago and Wisconsin. Performing her own eclectic mix of French, Contemporary Jazz, North Indian, Blues and Classical styles, Gillet has forged a path for the cello in the New Orleans music scene since her arrival in 2002, winning Best Female Performer (2014 Gambit Big Easy Awards), Best Mixed Bag (2012 Gambit Big Easy Awards) and Best Contemporary Jazz (2011 Gambit Big Easy Awards).
She has performed extensively across the United States and Western Europe. Beginning cello lessons at the age of nine, Gillet has taken her classical education all the way to a Master’s Degree (Beloit College ’00, Loyola University New Orleans ’04). Her training as an improviser began with North Indian Hindustani vocal ragas in 1998, which launched her into the worlds of free improvisation, jazz, funk, rock and French chansons. Gillet has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Festival International (Lafayette, LA), Voodoo Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival and Hindsgavl Festival in Denmark, Mirano Oltre Festival in Italy and at the Kennedy Center Center in Washington D.C. and tours extensively in music venues across North America and overseas.
Gillet has performed and recorded with countless musicians such as Kid Koala, Smokey Robinson, Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce, Dumpstafunk, Neville Brothers), John Popper (Blues Traveler), Members of Morphine with Jeremy Lyons, Wayne Horvitz, Allison Miller (Ani Difranco), Marco Benevento, Johnny Vidacovich, Clint Maedgen (Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Orleans Bingo Show), Michael Zerang, John Boutte, Mars Williams (Psychedelic Furs), Mike Dillon, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Mat Maneri, Hamid Drake, Nicole Mitchell, Ken Vandermark, Michael Ray (Sun Ra), The Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra, and European avant-garde Jazz musicians: Georg Graewe (AT), Kresten Osgood (DK), Tobias Delius (UK), Frank Gratkowski (DE), Paul Lytton (UK), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (NO), Johannes Bauer (DE), Almut Kuehne (DE), and Wilbert de Joode (NL) and many others.
In 2009, Gillet recorded the “experimental cello” part for George S. Clinton for Mike Judge’s Miramax Comedy film “Extract.” Gillet composed, performed and edited the music to the documentary films “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina & Beyond” and “Living with Water,” both part of a permanent exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum’s Presbytere on Jackson Square in New Orleans that includes Fats Domino’s wrecked piano.