The Incomparable Helga Davis

It was many years ago and the venue is now a blur, but the memory of first hearing Helga Davis perform her Feet of Clay is seared into my very soul. I’d known Helga from her day gig at a showroom I frequented in the 1990’s. In her intense gaze was a depth that revealed so much more than the confines of a desk job might suggest and I suppose the beautifully measured cadence and sonorous speaking voice should have tipped me off, but I was unprepared for what I was to experience when she opened her mouth to sing. I was dumbstruck by the power and clarity of her voice.

Amid my own emotional upheaval her lyrics penetrated, “Why has the sun gone away? Who’ll keep the promises made today? You have to make your own way…” Her simple words, epiphanic, expelling the shrapnel from my then war-torn heart.

From her early days with Greg Tate’s band Women in Love, to her role as the disciple Hilarion to Carl Hancock Rux’s Anthony in the Robert Wilson/Bernice Johnson Reagon collaborative staging of Flaubert’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, Helga has made artistic choices that push the boundaries of her own comfort level as well as ours, luring us into ecstatic exploration with her.

Two years ago today she was featured on WNYC ‘s Evening Music Spotlight in a revelatory, hour-and-a-half long interview interspersed with highlights from her body of work. Do carve out the time to allow yourself to luxuriate in this treat of Helga courtesy of New York Public Radio.

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Helga Davis from Sharon Bridgforth’s delta dandi Touring Company.

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9 Responses

  1. yes! thanks for this…I remember Women in Love. This link to the music is a treat!

  2. There’s my girl!

  3. yessssss sharon! we love Helga!
    thank you so much for pendulum, I look forward
    to it 😉

  4. Helga is the bombdiggity!! Feet of Clay was @Aaron Davis Hall– still have my postcard. Til this day nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compares to her version of Black Girl with WIL!!! Thanks for the link. Will check it out over the weekend.

    Keep ’em coming Sharon!

  5. I am sorry to admit that I knew nothing about Helga Davis until this post. Clearly, I am missing out on something special. Amazon.com, here I come!:)

  6. for all who are interested please check out the WOMEN IN LOVE page on myspace.com too

  7. Hey Helga,

    You probably dont remember me but i lived on Anderson Avenue in the Bronx, we attend the same junior high school and were very good friends prior to attending different high schools. I have been following you and Carl Hancock over the last 12yrs and have not only enjoyed your music but also your perspective on life as you always voiced when we were young. I hope at some point to see you again and to express how much of an inspiration you have been to me and to those I have shared your work with. All the best and continued success.

  8. […] Helga Davis est une vocaliste free jazz dotée d’une voix puissante et limpide qui expérimente son timbre au gré des performances et spectacles. De ses débuts avec le Greg Tate’s band Women in Love, à son rôle en tant que disciple Hilarion de Anthony Carl Hancock Rux, à la mise en scène de Robert Wilson et Bernice Reagon Johnson autour de La Tentation de saint Antoine, de Gustave Flaubert, Helga a fait des choix artistiques qui poussent les limites de son propre niveau de confort ainsi que le nôtre. […]

  9. helga kicks series book with damn sweet chops any/every day of the week!

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