The Magical Trad and World Music of Helicon: A Hike Up the Mountain of the Muses
- Robin Bullock (guitar, cittern, fiddle, mandolin, piano)
- Ken Kolodner (hammered dulcimer, fiddle)
- Chris Norman (wooden flute, whistle, smallpipes)
The INDIE Award-winning world-folk trio Helicon began life as the duo of Chris Norman and Ken Kolodner in the early 1980s. A fortuitous meeting at a festival added the prodigious talents of Robin Bullock in 1986, and Helicon was officially born. The group soon became one of a number of ensembles who were at the forefront of expanding the boundaries of traditional music in the U.S. and exploring the genre of what later became known as “world music.” Combining diverse musical backgrounds and interests, Helicon’s mission became the interpretation of traditional folk music from around the world.
The group took its name from Mount Helicon, celebrated in Greek mythology as the home of the Muses, nine goddesses who each inspired a different discipline in the arts. The Muses were often invoked at the beginning of great lyrical poems, such as the Homeric epics, to give inspiration or speak through the poet’s words. This visionary image of Helicon was later revived by the Roman poets, once more becoming an emblem of cultural inspiration during the Renaissance.
The trio Helicon pays homage to this noble lineage in their virtuosic and high-energy performances of an astoundingly varied repertoire, ranging from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Romania, Macedonia, Ukraine, Israel, Russia, China, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Haiti, Kenya, Australia and New Zealand along with their own original compositions, earning them praise in the Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Volume One as creating “an early form of world/traditional chamber music, another approach not yet capitalized on.”
Helicon’s 1999 CD A Winter Solstice with Helicon won the Association for Independent Music’s prestigious INDIE Award for Seasonal Recording of the Year. Their other critically acclaimed recordings include Horizons (1992), The Titan (1990) and their live debut Helicon (1987). The individual members of Helicon have over fifty solo recordings to their credit as well, making many guest appearances on each other’s CDs.
“Helicon’s brand of hypnotic Celtic-inspired dance rhythms makes a heady brew when mixed with this wide-ranging set of carols and winter songs. That Helicon’s stylized treatment can tame and blend this eclectic set is a tribute to the solid musicianship of this talented trio.” – Home Theater Hi Fi (Review of A Winter Solstice with Helicon)