Helen Curtis Music in 2020!

05 Jan 20

Phew, well that was a fantastic festive 2 weeks!  From family time around the piano on Christmas Eve to proudly watching my sister (and other half of Sätteli) cracking out a fantastic DJ set on New Years Eve. Now, rested and restocked I am ready to stir life back in to music making, teaching and planning  ahead for coming adventures in 2020. 

I have designed a new Helen Curtis Music business card, which at least to me is very exciting. I feel it conveys clearly what I do and lists in a quirky way everything here on my website.... Sätteli, Orixá Bloco, Georgian Song, Piano and percussion tuition, workshops, Charanga Del Norte and accompaniment. 

This year I want to celebrate creativity and growth. This creativity comes from and is essential to all conscious beings, and I am proud to be able to set up opportunities in music making in my local area Hebden Bridge, as well as beyond. I can afford to be proud about 2019 and I am excited about what this year 2020 will bring.... check the events page for opportunities, workshops and performances !

National Trust Footfall Film featuring S├Ątteli

11 Nov 19

I am really pleased to be able to share this wonderful film and record of the event  "Footfall' which was created to pay homage to the people of Calderdale who fought to save the beautiful area 'Hardcastle Crags' aka 'Little Switzerland' . It was a perfect event for Sätteli to be involved with. 



Charanga Del Norte recording project, Listers Lanterns and Bury Pride!

04 Nov 19

It's been a busy half term alright! Friday afternoon began with a full band rehearsal with the fabulous Charanga Del Norte, I was singing coro's with Guillermo Davies 'El Iyawo'. It was such a pleasure to be playing with this incredibly talented bunch of musicians, come from London and the North. Saturday and Sunday we were creating a live band recording in All Hallows church in Leeds. Bringing to life the sounds of 60's New York and Havana charanga sound, and recorded by Barkley McKay and with Nestor Torres (Cachao Master Sessions) as project mentor. It is a collaberation between Charanga Del Norte and New York based Orquesta Broadway. Fabulous. 

The end of the week saw Orixá Bloco with a double whammy weekender! Friday night performing at our second consecutive parade at Lister's Lanterns, in Bradford, with Cecil Green Arts. It was a beautiful parade, and the band had a fab time. Then on Saturday we performed for a fundraiser for next years Bury Pride! The band smashed each gig, and the energy was brilliant, everyone played with all the energy they had, and really performed well. It must have been good because we've had an invite to play again at Lister's Lanterns next year and Bury Pride too- which as an original native of Bury, is quite exciting! 

Why practice?

02 Oct 19

I am especially enjoying teaching the piano at the moment. I have lovely students who challenge and inspire me. The progress I see in them is extremely satisfying, and sometimes when I listen to them play, I remind myself that I've had the privilige of guiding this journey. This is what a piano teacher is of course, a guide. Ultimately the effort comes from the student, and the time that they put in. It's like any relationship, if you want to get to know something, you have to spend time with it. Playing an instrument is so much more than can be described (by me at least!) it touches your senses in every way. It tests your patience, it teaches you about yourself. Speaking for myself I feel so lucky to be based in this beautiful Calder Valley. I sit at the piano in my music room which I absolutely love, I look out the window at the hill that rises up on to the moors and I simply play. I don't drift mindlessly, I sit and I focus and listen with my ears and with my body and my touch. I remind myself what my teachers have said, and I try to bring the best out the music. Sometimes I think I must be really lazy... to just sit and play is such a joy, and a way of gently disengaging with more mundane aspects of life! When I feel I have finished, I feel happy and my mind feels full. I feel as if I have progressed and achieved a little more, I feel like whatever music I have been learning, I know now better than I did before, and for this part of the day, I have brought joy. I hope to pass this on to my students, this complete absorbtion - similar in ways to meditation. Music is so multi-faceted and it continues to draw me in. 

Hebden Bridge Folk Festival, Todmorden Carnival and Spare Parts Festival with Global Grooves

08 Jun 19

We've had a run of some great gigs since May. First up was the 'choir jam' at Hebden Bridge Folk Roots with Zarebi- performing with great acoustics in St Michaels church. We chose a set combined of chant, work songs and city songs. After singing, we recieved glowing remarks from audience members. These Georgian harmonies really seem to get under people's skin... 

Later in May I was pleased to be parading yet again (with the first gig of the year!) with Orixá Bloco at Todmorden Carnival. I am so proud of how the band sounds at the moment, and the energy of the members is so beautiful. The flag bearers at this gig were particulary good, coming up with great choreography during the static! After the gig we had a 'pizza party' with marvellous dough supplied by none other than Marco's. We initiated the newly made pizza oven down on Red Acre Allotments... the day was a true success! 

And now... today the weather has turned! and what do we do so well in the the rain in the UK? of course... carnival! I weathered the weather (!) so to speak at Spare Parts Festival in Oldham with the Global Grooves cast of drummers, dancers and puppeteers. We laughed and we got wet and the show went on, we set down some bad ass grooves and we had a truly great time. What's not to like?  

New Opportunities for Big Ears Music

18 Mar 19

This year has already seen excitement and shifts. I made a difficult decision to leave the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama where I have taught piano since 2006. This has meant saying goodbye to pupils who I have taught for a very long time. I have watched them grow (some literally!) and watched as they blossom into fine pianists - it has been such a pleasure. With blessings I now part ways with them on their musical journey and continue on mine. 

This decision now means that I have a little more space to develop Big Ears Music and all its associated projects. Practically it means I am now fully based in the Calder Valley, and my beautiful teaching/music room is more in service to me, my current students and new students. 

In the past 6 months, I have travelled to Georgia, Switzerland and I have just returned from Brazil. These musical and personal journeys have been incredibly enriching, stimulating and inspiring. I have seen communities completely changed for the better as a result of musical programmes. A sense of purpose has happened and a sense of pride restored or preserved. Talent has been honed, and chances have been given. On a personal sense, I have learned so much music, awareness of historical, cultural and geographical context, that simply cannot be experienced any other way than to visit the countries that hold such beautiful treasures. 

I feel absolutely blessed at being able to see and do these wonderful things. It is music that has brought me to these places and music that has taught me about life, its intricacies and pathsways.