Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Spotlight on Helen Winter - guest artiste on our new album!

Helen Winter - Soprano

In honour of the imminent release of our newest CD '4 Girls 4 Harps at Christmas' we thought it would be interesting to highlight one of the special features of the CD. We particularly enjoyed recording three tracks with the soprano Helen Winter - we felt that it would add an exciting element to the main harp-tastic soundworld of the CD and, having listened to the finished product, she really accentuates the Christmas sparkle!

We thought it would be fun to get to know Helen a bit better and find out how she found the experience of working with four harps, so we asked her a few questions....

How did you get involved with 4G4H's new album?

I had been working with Eleanor Turner and we wanted to record some tracks together. Ellie thought about the idea of working with all the girls on a project and we thought that a Christmas CD would be most popular and interesting to work on.  
Have you ever worked with harps before? 
Only one, with Eleanor.
Was there anything that suprised you about the music that you were recording?
The arrangements that the girls had written themselves were really beautiful. They wrote perfectly for my voice. It was also quite tricky in places.
What was the most challenging thing about recording with four harps?
The most challenging thing was the rhythms in some of the carols, and also being aware which harps were communicating with me whilst I was singing. It was vital that I always knew who was my supporting part. It is so different performing with four harps than performing with a piano. The girls are so gelled as one. They know exactly what they need from each other all the time and for me to suddenly come into a close knit group like this, was like a thorn in their side. I also had to try and become one of them and know that each part was just as important as my vocal melody - sometimes I was even used as part of the accompaniment!
What was the most fun thing about recording with the group?

The way we all worked so hard to get it right and the laugh we had doing it. I love the girls, they are fab to work with and we all get on so well which is perfect on these types of projects. I was honoured to be part of it.
Do you have a favourite track from the new CD?

I think out of my songs, In the Bleak midwinter is my favourite, although I love the others too. I am looking forward to hearing all the other tracks they did on the album as I haven't heard them yet. 
 What other projects do you have in the pipeline at the moment? 
Currently I am working on a Poulenc opera which is happening in London on November the 30th. It is a one act opera, 40 minutes long, all in French and only one character in it: me! It is quite scary, but I am really enjoying doing it.
What do you enjoy doing away from the world of music?

Away from music I have a love of animals. I am a trained Rodentologist and keep guinea pigs as this is what I specialise in. I work alongside the Cambridge Cavy Trust helping people with sick guinea pigs. I also have a beautiful cocker spaniel who I adore spending time with, she also sings along with me and my pupils.
What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
Spending time at home with my wonderful husband and my family. I love the sparkle and happiness that surrounds Christmas. 
Describe 4G4H in 5 words
Talented, beautiful, hardworking, great-friends (making that one word :)) and my fifth word: bonkers!

Official release date: 2 December