The exceptional Helen Gillet at Bacchanal

Like love, or Republican foreign policy, great music can create a sense of exceptionalism: a feeling that nowhere else in the world is anyone else so attuned to the glories of the present moment.

Helen Gillet puts her cello to use as a percussion instrument during a solo performance at Bacchanal in New Orleans, Oct. 8, 2012

Helen Gillet puts her cello to use as a percussion instrument during a solo performance at Bacchanal in New Orleans, Oct. 8, 2012. Photo by Eliot Kamenitz

Globe-trotting cellist Helen Gillet makes this feeling of blissful grandiosity accessible by pulling together bits of traditional French songs, New Orleans rhythms and electronic loops to create a musical environment that heightens the best aspects of the here and now.

Gillet performed solo in the Bacchanal courtyard on Monday and will hold down the Monday slot into early November, sometimes solo, sometimes with a band.

The two-set show on Oct. 8 started off with the quiet, delicate instrumental “Waking Milo,” from her second CD, “Running of the Bells,” which segued into “Le Petit Royaume” from her first, “Newton Circus.”

“Running of the Bells” is a trio recording, with Doug Garrison and Tim Green, and “Newton Circus” was created with the Wazozo band, including violin, guitar, harp, French horn and accordion.

Other songs from “Newton Circus” included “Mon Amant De Saint Jean“; “Sympatique”, which featured harmonies created by singing along with looped vocals; and “J’ai Rendez-Vous avec Vous” by George Brassens, also the author of “La Non-Demande en Mariage.”

Gillet also performed some of her own compositions, including “Atchafalaya” and “Julien” from her most recent CD, “Helen Gillet.”Also in English was her version of Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You.”

Gillet performances in the next few weeks include:

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One thought on “The exceptional Helen Gillet at Bacchanal

  1. […] “Liquid Land” incorporates interviews with the New Orleans musicians who participated: Helen Gillet, James Singleton, Bhob Rainey, Jeff Albert, Rob Cambre, Justin Peake, Dave Easley, Aurora Nealand […]

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