“With just her voice and a cello, [she] has created a new vocabulary.” – The Boston Globe
Helen Gillet is a singer-songwriter and surrealist-archeologist exploring synthesized sounds, texture, and rhythm using an acoustic cello. Over the years — working in New Orleans with musicians of all stripes, from avant-garde jazz and classical to pop and funk — Gillet has developed a singular polyglot style. The core of her work is solo performance with live looping, layering cello parts and vocal lines. Rhythmic figures emerge with bowed or plucked ostinatos or a variety of rubbing and slapping on the body of the cello, then enhanced with melodies played or sung in her haunting alto. Her mixed musical vocabulary is commensurate with her disparate travels — French chanson of the 1940s, Belgian folk tunes sung in Walloon, a mix of rock and punk from the likes of PJ Harvey and X-Ray Spex, and her own affecting originals. Her most recent record, ReBelle, was released in 2023.