is an English folk-influenced composer and musician playing mainly viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...
The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music...
In 2000 she released her first solo album, 'Audierne', on which she was accompanied by guitarist Ed Pritchard.
While studying music at the University of York
The University of York , is an academic institution located in the city of York, England. Established in 1963, the campus university has expanded to more than thirty departments and centres, covering a wide range of subjects...
between 1999 and 2001 she became part of the trio Ola with Sarah Wright (bodhran
The bodhrán is an Irish frame drum ranging from 25 to 65 cm in diameter, with most drums measuring 35 to 45 cm . The sides of the drum are 9 to 20 cm deep. A goatskin head is tacked to one side...
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...
, vocals) and Michael Jary (concertina
A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It has a bellows and buttons typically on both ends of it. When pressed, the buttons travel in the same direction as the bellows, unlike accordion buttons which travel perpendicularly to it...
). The trio went on to become finalists in the BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...
Young Folk Award in 2000, and released two albums, 'The Animals are in the West' and 'Be Prepared For Weather'.
She was interviewed as part of Dr. Lindsay Aitkenhead's 2006 thesis on folk viola players.
Helen's song 'Broken Town' was covered by English fiddle-singer Jackie Oates
Jackie Oates is an English folk singer and fiddle player. In addition to her solo work, she currently performs as part of the folk trio Wistman's Wood and sings with Morris Offspring.She was born in Congleton in Cheshire in 1983, but grew up in Staffordshire...
on her self-titled debut album in 2006.
She now works with Tom Drinkwater as one half of the duo Pillowfish
Pillowfish are a progressive folk duo comprising Tom Drinkwater and Helen Bell .Formed in mid 2005 in York, UK, they released their first album, 'Common Knowledge' in 2006....
, who released the album 'Common Knowledge' in 2006.
Helen Bell with Ed Pritchard
- 'Audierne' (2000) (Little Acorn LACRCD1)
- 'The Animals are in the West' (2001) (Green Fingers Music GFMCD25)
- 'Be Prepared for Weather' (2003)
- 'Common Knowledge' (2006) (Pillowfish PFCD. 0601)