Nature’s Grace album release for Helefonix, aka Walkern's Helen Meissner
- Credit: Emma Massie
Life has been pretty exciting for Hertfordshire’s award-winning music promoter turned record producer Helen Meissner.
A spin on BBC Radio 3 on Elizabeth Alker's Saturday morning show was the icing on the cake following a play from Cerys Matthews on her Sunday morning show on BBC 6 Music and her awards from American-based Clouzine Magazine.
Walkern-based Helen makes music under the moniker Helefonix.
A self-confessed late starter, Helen only started making music this time last year, in her mid 50s.
"During lockdown I was reminded of my love of nature and birdsong specifically," said Helen.
"When I was at junior school I used to do projects in the holidays, I’ve still got a book called The Song Thrush, where I shared my (very short) story of discovering a nest and watched fascinated the progress of the fledglings.
"So it’s no surprise that I decided to record the song thrush and make it the soloist on a track I composed. This was the track which Cerys Matthews played."
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Emboldened by her success, Helen then approached poet/broadcaster Ian McMillan and asked if he would consider collaborating.
He responded enthusiastically and offered to create a piece specially for Helen.
“Working with Ian was a real pleasure. He was so relaxed and not at all precious with how I arranged his poem.”
The resulting track, (Teaching Darkness) How to Fly, was the one picked up by BBC Radio 3.
It includes lambs recorded at Church Farm Ardeley, church bells from Walkern, a local cockerel, blackbirds and the video accompanying the track is full of rural bliss and sunrises.
Another track which is of huge significance for Helen is The Little Things, which features footage recently uncovered of her late grandparents, Herbert and Gladys Davies.
While they were Watton-at-Stone residents for much of their lives, the Durham accent from her grandfather’s childhood brings a warmth and charm to his philosophical musings, which are again set to music.
Helefonix's 11-track album, appropriately titled Nature’s Grace, is available now on CD form via Helen’s website.
It is on general release for streaming on Sunday, September 5.
Visit www.helefonix.co.uk for more.