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Helga

English, Cultural, 6 seasons, 61 episodes, 1 day, 20 hours, 5 minutes
About
Artist, performer, and host Helga Davis brings a soulful curiosity and love of people to the podcast Helga, where she talks about the intimate lives of creative people as they share the steps they’ve taken along their path. She draws listeners into these discussions with cultural change-makers, whether already famous or rising talents, whose sensibilities expand our imaginations as we explore what we think we know about each other. The new season of Helga is a co-production of WNYC Studios and the Brown Arts Institute at Brown University. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, and Death, Sex & Money. The Brown Arts Institute at Brown University is a new university-wide research enterprise and catalyst for the arts at Brown that creates new work and supports, amplifies, and adds new dimensions to the creative practices of Brown’s arts departments, faculty, students, and community.
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The Armory Youth Corps

"We’re struggling. Our generation is trying to cope. Life is crazy." On this final episode of Helga: The Armory Conversations, I look to this next generation of artists. Three participants in Park Avenue Armory’s Youth Corps program, playwright Wilson Castro, visual artist Raven Garcia, and photographer Biviana Sanchez, sat down with me and as we made a space together, we experienced what it means to be vulnerable with oneself and with each other.  The Youth Corps Program immerses students in the art and creative processes of the Armory’s artists through paid, mentored, project-oriented internships. Starting in high school, the Youth Corps provides a test audience to the Armory Artist Corps during the lesson design process, offering feedback from a student perspective, serves as Front of House staff for all Armory events, assists in administrative projects in all departments, and completes and presents a term project. Building on this foundation and responding directly to student needs, the program also includes a post-secondary phase, including strategies to promote college persistence, professional development, and student leadership. 
9/29/202132 minutes, 2 seconds
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K. Anthony Jones

"I want to push those limitations. Push them." Researcher, writer and critic K. Anthony Jones discusses what it means to make your own way and how to carve a path where one does not exist.  K. Anthony Jones researches and writes on the history, theory, and criticism of late modern art and architecture. His research interests include the media cultures of the Cold War; modernism and war; art and globalization; science and technology studies; visual culture; critical race theory; political anthropology; imperialism; postcolonial studies; art and technology; methods of historiography; and archival science. Jones received a Master in Design Studies degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2020; and a Bachelor of Art degree from Morehouse College in Sociology in 2010. And here are 5 books that offer a glimpse into his world: 1. The House That Race Built: Original Essays by Toni Morrison, Angela Y. Davis, Cornel West, and Others on Black Americans and Politics in America Today by Wahneema Lubiano 2. Home by Toni Morrison 3. The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo by Tom Feelings 4. Taryn Simon: The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection by Taryn Simon (Author, Photographer), Joshua Chuang (Author), Tim Griffin (Author) 5. The People Could Fly: Black American Folktales by Virginia Hamilton (Author) Leo Dillon (Illustrator), Diane Dillon Ph.D. (Illustrator)  
9/22/202134 minutes, 7 seconds
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Antwaun Sargent

“There’s a real potential in art making to have someone reassess everything that they had thought about a history.” Curator, critic and writer, Antwaun Sargent engages Helga in a discussion around the motivations behind his work as a curator and the circuitous path that led him to a life in and around art.  Antwaun Sargent is writer, editor and curator living in New York City. Sargent is the author of “The New BlackVanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion” (Aperture) and the editor of “Young, Gifted andBlack: A New Generation of Artists” (DAP). Recently, he was hired as a director at Gagosian Gallery. The Coda includes a reading from "Notes On Social Works" by Antwaun Sargent.”
9/15/202133 minutes, 17 seconds
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Deborah Archer

“It was so important to be apart of community. To find strength in each other. To know that on the days when I can’t move forward, someone is going to take up the baton and move forward for me. “ Professor, Lawyer and ACLU President Deborah Archer sat down to speak with me about some of her earliest moments and how they shaped her desire to fight for equality.   Deborah N. Archer is a Professor of Clinical Law and Co-Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law. Deborah is also the President of the ACLU and a leading expert in civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. She is an award-winning teacher and legal scholar whose articles have appeared in leading law reviews. Deborah has also offered commentary for numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, National Public Radio, CBS, Monocle, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.  Deborah previously worked as an attorney with the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, and school desegregation. Deborah is also a former chair of the American Association of Law School's Section on Civil Rights and the Section on Minority Groups. She previously served as Chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the nation’s oldest and largest police oversight agency.
9/8/202137 minutes, 31 seconds
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Liliana Maria Percy Ruíz

“That's been one of the hardest things to really heal from. Has been the grief of knowing that my choices and the way that I live my life, which I love means that I am isolated from my community.” Liliana Maria Percy Ruíz, radio producer and founding member of On Being with Krista Tippett sat down to talk about identity, her definition of faith and the complexities of family.  Born in Cali, Colombia, Liliana Maria Percy Ruíz immigrated to Miami with her family at the age of four. She studied English Literature and Film Studies at Florida International University.  Liliana Maria has worked as an associate editor at MovieMaker magazine, and as a producer for StoryCorps and NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the weekends, where she produced the series “Movies I’ve Seen A Million Times.” In 2012, she received the Religion Newswriters Association Radio/Podcast Religion Report of the Year Award for her profile of four Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Liliana Maria was one of the founding team of four of the On Being Project. During her time at the OBP, she was the Executive Producer of On Being Studios, where she produced the national public radio show and podcast, On Being with Krista Tippett, as well as created the podcasts Poetry Unbound and This Movie Changed Me, which she also hosted.  Liliana Maria proudly serves on the board of Centro Tyrone Guzman, the oldest and largest multi-service Latino organization in Minneapolis.
9/1/202132 minutes, 22 seconds
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Jad Abumrad

"The positioning of being kind of on the edge of the room looking in? That's the position of a journalist." Jad Abumrad, co-Host and creator of Radiolab, joined Helga to talk about the beginnings of his career, the impact of family and how he works with doubt.  The son of a scientist and a doctor, Jad Abumrad did most of his growing up in Tennessee, before studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. Following graduation, Abumrad wrote music for films, and reported and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs, including On The Media, Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, Morning Edition, All Things Considered and WNYC's "24 Hours at the Edge of Ground Zero." While working on staff at WNYC, Abumrad began tinkering with an idea for a new kind of radio program.  That idea evolved into one of public radio’s most popular shows today – Radiolab.  Abumrad hosts the program with Robert Krulwich and also serves as one of its producers.  The program won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and explores big questions in science, philosophy and mankind.  Under Abumrad’s direction, the show uses a combination of deep-dive journalism, narrative storytelling, dialogue and music to craft compositions of exploration and discovery.  Radiolab podcasts are downloaded over 10 million times each month and the program is carried on more than 500 stations across the nation and internationally.  Abumrad is also the Executive Producer and creator of Radiolab's More Perfect, a podcast that explores how cases deliberated inside the rarefied world of the Supreme Court affect our lives far away from the bench. Abumrad was honored as a 2011 MacArthur Fellow (also known as the Genius Grant).  The MacArthur Foundation website says:  “Abumrad is inspiring boundless curiosity within a new generation of listeners and experimenting with sound to find ever more effective and entertaining ways to explain ideas and tell a story.”  Abumrad also produced and hosted The Ring & I, an insightful, funny, and lyrical look at the enduring power of Wagner's Ring Cycle.  It aired nationally and internationally and earned ten awards, including the prestigious 2005 National Headliner Grand Award in Radio.
8/25/202153 minutes, 26 seconds
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Davóne Tines

"It split me. In one instance it split me in two. Because I had never thought of using my different voices to do different things." Opera singer Davóne Tines joined Helga to talk about his path towards a career in classical music, how he's tried to bring his whole self to his work and the impact of feeling like he can't. Davóne Tines is a pathbreaking artist whose work not only encompasses a diverse repertoire, from early music to new commissions by leading composers, but also explores today’s pressing social issues through work that blends opera, art song, contemporary classical, spirituals, gospel, and songs of protest, as a means to tell a deeply personal story of perseverance that connects to all of humanity. Mr. Tines is the recipient of the 2020 Sphinx Medal of Excellence in recognition of extraordinary classical musicians of color and one of Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artists. 
8/18/202140 minutes, 11 seconds
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Karen Finley

"I love to hear humans just gathering and talking and being and making lots of noise. I like to do that too...just being, and making yourself known and present." Author and performing artist Karen Finley spoke with Helga Davis about the evolution of her early work and what she wants to give her audience now.  Karen Finley is an artist, performer, and author. She is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, text, sound, music, poetics, film and video, installation, public and social practice art. Born in Chicago she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her raw and transgressive performances have brought debate, censorship and controversy. Finley was the named plaintiff for the Supreme Court case Finley v. NEA that challenged the decency provision in government grants to artists through the National Endowment for the Arts. Her performances and visual art have been presented internationally such as the Barbican in London, Lincoln Center, New York City, MOMA, the Bobino in Paris, amongst others. Finley is interested in freedom of expression concerns, social justice, gender and sexuality, visual culture, art education, metaphysics and lectures, and gives workshops widely. She is the author of nine books, including her latest, Grabbing Pussy ( OR Books 2018) and the 25th anniversary edition of Shock Treatment by City Lights. Reality Shows Feminist Press 2010) A recipient of many awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is an arts professor in Art and Public Policy at New York University. Follow her on Instagram @the_yam_mam Karen Finley is a commissioned artist featured in the Armory’s 100 Years |100 Women Project. The Coda includes a reading of "Pussy Speak Out" from Grabbing Pussy by Karen Finley.
8/11/202128 minutes, 48 seconds
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Jason Reynolds

“Everything I know about gender politics or gender identity as it's changed and continues to change and shift and be named in all these glorious and intricate ways, have come from 16 year-olds. Thank God for them.” Youth author Jason Reynolds joined Helga Davis to talk about what it means to make work during the pandemic and how important it is to make space for the next generation.  Jason Reynolds is an award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Correta Scott King Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His latest book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is a collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi. Jason is the 2020-2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.
8/4/202145 minutes, 29 seconds
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Tina Campt

"How exactly do we listen to images? We listen by feeling. We listen by attending to what I call 'felt sound'." Helga Davis invites Scholar and Author Tina Campt to explore her relationship to her practice and her family, centering the conversation on the power and pleasure of listening to images. Tina L. Campt is Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Campt is a black feminist theorist of visual culture and contemporary art. She leads the Black Visualities Initiative at the Cogut Institute for Humanities and is the founding convenor of the Practicing Refusal Collective. Campt is the author of three books: Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich(University Michigan Press, 2004), Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (Duke University Press, 2012), Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017), and most recently, A Black Gaze (MIT Press, 2021). She has held faculty positions at the Technical University of Berlin, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Duke University, and Barnard College, and currently serves as a Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg. Professor Tina Campt has provided scholarly advice and inspiration for many Park Avenue Armory Public Programs over the past six years, most recently as a Keynote Speaker for Theaster Gates’s Black Artist Retreat and advisor to the collaborative project 100 Years | 100 Women.  "The Coda" includes a reading from A Black Gaze by Tina Campt.
7/28/202148 minutes, 43 seconds
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Marilee Talkington

"I’m curious about how we work. Why we’re here. What we’re doing to each other, with each other. And I know on a fundamental level that I am so much more capable than I can imagine." Actress & Disability Advocate Marilee Talkington sat down with Helga Davis to talk about her journey towards a life in theater, how she continues to innovate in that space as a low vision actress, and how important it is to be a resource and voice for her community.  Marilee Talkington is a professional actor, writer, director, and filmmaker.  She is also an activist and thought leader in the Disability Justice and Arts movement and is the Founder and Executive Director of Access Acting Academy, which is a 1st-of-its-kind professional actor training studio for blind and low vision actors. She is one of the 1st legally blind women in the United States to earn an M.F.A. in Acting (American Conservatory Theater) and has originated over 80 characters on stage and screen with leading roles at Tony Award winning theaters under the direction of Broadway directors.  She has also recurred and guest starred on multiple television shows on NBC, CBS, CW, and Apple TV+.   Marilee is a MacDowell Fellow, California Center for Cultural Innovation Grantee, Winner of the A.C.T. Carol Channing Trouper Award for dedication and excellence,  a recipient of the 2020 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award, one of Park Armory's Artist/Activist 100 years / 100 women, and most recently the voice at the Guggenheim museum that describes the approach to the architectural masterpiece.  www.marileetalkington.com | www.accessacting.com | imdb.me/marileetalkington | @anartistwarrior Marilee Talkington is a commissioned artist of Park Avenue Armory’s collaborative project 100 Years |100 Women. The Coda features a new work titled, "The Experiment" in collaboration with Marilee Talkington and Helga Davis.
7/21/202135 minutes, 44 seconds
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Nick Cave

"When I look outside, when I go to the front door. That is my new canvas. Today. It's not really what happens in the studio. It's what happens outside of the studio." Visual Artist Nick Cave joins Helga Davis to talk about the evolution of his sculptural work, his community collaborations, and how to move from Black sorrow to Black excellence.  Nick Cave (b. 1959, Fulton, MO; lives and works in Chicago, IL) is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance.  Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body, initially created in direct response to the police beating of Rodney King in 1991. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment. They serve as a visual embodiment of social justice that represent both brutality and empowerment. The Let Go, Cave’s Park Avenue Armory Commission, premiered in June 2018. 
7/14/202137 minutes, 14 seconds
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Helga: The Armory Conversations Season 4 Trailer

Artist, performer and host Helga Davis brings a soulful curiosity and love of people to the podcast Helga: The Armory Conversations. This season, in partnership with Park Avenue Armory, she continues to draw the listener into her profound and intimate conversations with creative people, famous and lesser known.  Artists, scholars, and cultural change-makers join her to share the steps they’ve taken along their paths. Where they started, where they are and where they’re going next.   These inspiring conversations expand our world and our imaginations as we explore what we think we know about each other. 
7/7/20211 minute
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Art Maven Kimberly Drew

Kimberly Drew, also known online as @museummammy, is a unrelenting, taste-making purveyor of art, fashion and culture. Her work has appeared in Glamour and W magazines, as well as Teen Vogue and The Fader. Across her varied platforms, from social media manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to her powerful blog, Black Contemporary Art, to her influencer Instagram account, Drew strives to shape a brighter future through inspiring art and advocacy. She joins host Helga Davis in this episode to discuss the importance of mental health, what it really means to work in the art world, and how drinking water helps her keep the beat. "You're inundated with so much information. But when given the privilege of time, it can be an opportunity for intense, expansive interaction." -Kimberly Drew Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
6/13/201852 minutes, 25 seconds
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David Kyuman Kim

Teacher, author and speaker, David Kyuman Kim shares the concept of "radical love" in halls and on college campuses across the country as well as on his former podcast, Love-Driven Politics. In 2015, David presented a TEDx Talk on the topic at Connecticut College where he is also a Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies and the Peace and Conflict Coordinator. In this episode, David joins host Helga Davis to discuss the role of community and love in this nation during a critical time in our history. "People are eating a lot of things, but I think those things are eating them alive. Like anger, like enmity, like vitriol, like contempt. You eat those things and they eat you. You consume those things and they consume you. And to go to your neighbors, to as you say make an argument, you're not really making an argument. You're actually inviting them into a different way of life. And that's a powerful thing." -David Kyuman Kim Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
5/21/201849 minutes, 1 second
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Jacqueline Woodson

Author Jacqueline Woodson won the 2014 National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming, and this past January began her two-year tenure as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; her latest book Another Brooklyn was a New York Times best-seller. In this conversation, host Helga Davis sits down to talk with Woodson about family – the alternative one she was born into and the one she made for herself. Finding the ones with whom she can connect has been invaluable for her; here she shares how she made her community and how they have influenced her process. "For me the extended family is about having more parenting tools. [...] And then we have to make other decisions, we're a biracial family, right? We're a two-mom family, we're not going to send our kid to a school where they're the only kid of color, or the only kid in the class with two moms or two dads. So we had to, from a very early age, start investigating which schools are going to see my kid as wholly human." –Jacqueline Woodson Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
5/7/201847 minutes, 25 seconds
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Kenneth Lonergan

Director, playwright and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan is widely known for winning the Oscar for best original screenplay at the 89th Academy Awards for his film Manchester By the Sea, and as a co-writer on Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. In this episode, host Helga Davis and Lonergan work through their shared upbringing at the Walden School in New York – exploring memories both charged and powerfully formative – while also exploring daily rituals and what it means to fuel one's creativity. "Without cultural appropriation there is no culture. Especially in this country. I know what it means, but I know that it's misapplied when it's taken to that [extreme] degree and it becomes meaningless. You can't name an artist, a writer, or anybody who puts anything out in any kind of creative capacity, who doesn't appropriate left and right from all kinds of cultures and influences." -Kenneth Lonergan Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
4/9/20181 hour, 1 minute, 42 seconds
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Studio Museum in Harlem's Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden is the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, an appointee to President Obama's Committee for the Preservation of the White House, and the recipient of the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. In this conversation, the first of the second season of our Helga podcast, Golden discusses being taught canon revision with her father growing up, her first memories of seeing the world through art, and the rituals she need to get through the day. "I exist perpetually, but also for me, very beautifully, constantly in motion. And I love that and it's how I think of myself and see myself. So in order to be with myself, I need to find some stillness." -Thelma Golden Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
3/26/20181 hour, 24 minutes, 21 seconds
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Season Two of 'Helga' Returns Next Week with Thelma Golden

The second season of our podcast, Helga, with host Helga Davis is just around the corner. New episodes featuring relevant, uplifting conversations with trailblazing artists returns Monday, March 26, with Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. New episodes will come out every other week on Monday for ten episodes. Learn more about what inspires today's most dynamic artists and what lessons their daily and artistic practice can impart for your own life, by binging on Season One this weekend. Guests for the first season included pop star Solange, jazz legend Henry Threadgill, opera director Peter Sellars, New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als, comedian and actress Sarah Jones, and singer-bandleader Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond. Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
3/23/201838 seconds
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Hilton Als

Hilton Als is an intellectual omnivore who roots his art and criticism in reality and a search for the truth. A writer, New Yorker theater critic, curator, photographer, director and professor, Als’s work gracefully slips between genres to comment on contemporary American politics, pop culture and the African-American experience and to place the current condition in a longer history. In this tenth and final episode of the first season of Helga, Als and Davis talk about what he learned living next to Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, and how to get comfortable owning your anger and art-making. "Don’t worry. Don’t be good. Be ruthless in making the most beautiful thing you can do." -Hilton Als Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
1/23/201748 minutes, 8 seconds
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Sarah Jones

Playwright and stage actress Sarah Jones dexterously hops from one character to the next. In her one-woman shows, she seamlessly slips into characters of different class, race and gender backgrounds. Her award-winning multi-character performances cover topics such as sex work, post-9/11 America and racism in the healthcare system and illuminate the differences and strengths between one another. Jones and Davis talk self-worth and self-love in a culture that teaches self-alienation. "Hurt people hurt people. But guess what? Free people free people. And if I can find the space within where I am free no matter what, where I can find the Mandela on my own scale. All of a sudden, I am a free radical. In a good way. [...] And by the way, this does not elevate me to sainthood. I am messy. I still get in the car and be cranky if the traffic, etc. But just to see it. Just to have enough space and a pause. Get still. What is so unforgivable about this moment?" -Sarah Jones Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
1/9/20171 hour, 7 minutes, 37 seconds
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Julia Bullock

When soprano Julia Bullock took the stage recently to sing the legacy and history of Josephine Baker, the groundbreaking African-American singer and performer who fought in the civil rights movement, she didn’t dress it up. There was no marcelled hair, no banana skirt. Just a woman using her voice to speak truth to power and telling the story of a woman who paved the way. Her star ascending, the Juilliard-trained Bullock and Davis talk about what can and can’t be processed through performance and what it means to find your voice and your place in the world. "One of the best things that my teacher from Juilliard and from Bard taught me is: Start from zero every morning. Don’t wake up and say to yourself, 'Oh right, I had so good yesterday.' Don’t think about the past. Don’t think about where you’re wanting to go later. Just start from zero and deal every day with the body that you’ve got. And that might be the best lesson that I’ve ever been taught by anyone." -Julia Bullock Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
1/2/201737 minutes, 26 seconds
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Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez

For conductor Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, an attentive and hungry audience is one of the essential parts of creating a transcendent musical experience. That’s why he scatters his Musica Viva choir at All Souls Church on the Upper East Side throughout the church. So the audience is in the middle of the action. In this conversation, Davis and Hernandez-Valdez talk about the challenges of managing both choirs and audience, the meditative qualities of live choral music, and the capability of music to transcend daily life to a spiritual plane. “In a way it’s like soul saving. I really see music as a spiritual experience. For some people a religious experience. When you’re in the middle of a piece of music that is really really meaningful, you’re transcending human life. You become one with your spirit.” -Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
12/19/201640 minutes, 43 seconds
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Alan Gilbert

Alan Gilbert believes that conducting an orchestra is a process of “letting go together.” When the energy between a conductor and an orchestra is right, he says, it’s almost impossible to tell who’s leading who. After eight seasons at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert is ready to step down. In his wake, he leaves a formidable legacy of experimentation that expanded not just what an orchestra can and will do, but who it’s for. Gilbert and Davis sat down in his office to talk about what he means by serving a community, the moments in performance he lives for, and how maybe he could've benefited from throwing tantrums and showing his stress more. “You have to set something motion that is so inevitable that it goes that way and you don’t have to continue to do anything in order for it to go that way, because that is the only possible way it could go. And then you just follow. But what you’re doing is that you’re following something that you created. You’ve set it in motion and it’s exactly what you want but you don’t have to look as if you’re making it happen as it happens.” —Alan Gilbert on successful conducting Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
12/12/201634 minutes, 38 seconds
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Solange

Solange is determined to express herself fully and with integrity. The musician, singer and songwriter has been writing music since she was in the fourth grade.  In this episode of Helga, Solange and host Helga Davis retrace the pop-star’s journey from being a young mother in Idaho with a major-record publishing deal, to self-autonomy and accountability in the music business. The two also discuss the themes behind her recent album, A Seat at the Table, of living authentically and of owning your voice, body and art while being black and beautiful in contemporary America. "Working out how to develop those tools through my art and through the conversation of my music to where now I actually feel much better, much more equipped to have those conversations. I actually had to go through the rage and the frustration and the mourning and the protest and the meditation through the album to get to the other side, to be able to have those conversations, no matter where I'm being targeted. I can stand firm in that and strong and with my shoulders and my head high." —Solange Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on Facebook.
12/5/20161 hour, 14 minutes
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Jennifer Koh

Violin soloist Jennifer Koh has never cancelled a gig. Even when she had pneumonia, bronchitis and strep throat... at the same time. That drive comes through in the intensity of her live performances and the fierceness of her determination. In this conversation, Davis speaks with her colleague in the recent revival of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's epic opera Einstein on the Beach about the toll her exacting performance takes on the body, the empathy required for a truly transcendent live show, and trusting that your personal perspective and experiences will resonate for others.p> “You can just feel the edge of somebody’s hair. You’re with them and they’re with you. It’s a shared empathy and shared visceral communication.” -Jennifer Koh on being in the moment. Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on facebook.
11/28/201638 minutes, 41 seconds
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Henry Threadgill

Henry Threadgill wants to know how to build the house. Whether it's Moby Dick or jazz composition, the 72-year-old jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist has spent his life figuring out what goes into building the greatest works of arts. At three years of age, he started teaching himself to play piano by mimicking the boogie-woogie on the radio. From there, he set to figuring out how to compose his own music. Recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Threadgill talks with Helga about giving license to your imagination in order to create, the life energy that connects a performer to his creations, and pushing yourself to go beyond excellence to greatness. “People have different names for the life force in them. But it’s energy. The only thing that science seems to be able to tell us about energy is you can’t destroy it. You can change it but you cannot destroy it. So wherever you house it, it’s only being housed until it has to change.” –Henry Threadgill This conversation contains explicit language that some listeners may find offensive. Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on facebook.
11/21/201644 minutes, 42 seconds
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Shara Nova

After moving to Detroit from New York and separating from her husband, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden decided to change her last name to Nova. The frontwoman for the indie-rock band, singer and composer talks to Helga Davis about about her upcoming album and Southern roots, about leaning into vulnerability, and why being uncomfortable is crucial in art-making. She also talks about why it was important for her to escape the art scene and rub shoulders with construction workers, and what it means that her new name translates to "new song." “Vulnerability is I think one thing that I, we, I am so afraid of. We want control or perceived control and I think art-making is like subjecting yourself to this admission that you don’t have control. So I think that many, or maybe all, of my decisions are motivated by challenge, and in a way where I find where my vulnerability is, is the exact place that I need to lean into.” –Shara Nova Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on facebook. Watch: Inside Shara Nova's Mystical Detroit Home, from the web series Q2 Spaces.
11/15/201642 minutes, 7 seconds
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Peter Sellars

From the home of the Peabody Award-winning Meet the Composer, Q2 Music is proud today to launch the first season of a 10-part podcast, Helga. Hosted by internationally acclaimed singer Helga Davis, Helga features probing conversations with creative and performing artists who have fiercely unique voice and a stake in the matter of social change. The premiere episode features opera and theater director Peter Sellars, one of the most all-around inspiring people you'll ever come across. The acclaimed, unconventional Sellars invites himself and audiences to embrace challenge and push their emotional and spiritual boundaries. His outlook on life and creativity is informed by the belief that hell is just a branch of heaven when correctly viewed. Davis and Sellars talk about his work with the Flexn dancers and Bach's St. Matthew Passion, his sister who runs a dance machine arcade for teenagers in Las Vegas, and how he still isn't sure what he's been put here for. “The actual script of your life is way better than the script you wrote. What you had in mind is just not interesting compared to what happened. And always what happened is way deeper, way more challenging in one way but always way more pleasurable in another, because you do have to surrender and you just have to enjoy falling forward and not being able to catch yourself.” –Peter Sellars Subscribe to Helga on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow Helga Davis on facebook. Watch: Helga Davis hosts "Peter Sellars and Friends from The Greene Space at WQXR."
11/14/201657 minutes, 44 seconds
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Sneak Peek: New Podcast 'Helga'

Q2 Music is thrilled to offer an advance listen to Helga, a new podcast that features conversations with diverse, uncompromising and socially conscious artists across the creative and performing arts spectrum. Launching next week with two episodes — acclaimed opera director Peter Sellars (Monday, Nov. 14) and singer and My Brightest Diamond bandleader Shara Nova (Tuesday, Nov. 15) — Helga's first season will continue with 10 episodes released Mondays through Jan. 9. Get a sneak peek of excerpts from the first few episodes in the audio above, and please help new audiences discover Helga by giving the show a rating and review on iTunes. “Artists play an important role on the front lines of social change, often confronting issues in ways that touch people more intimately than political rhetoric. I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous!) to launch this podcast, and to speak with artists across the creative spectrum who display a radical autonomy in their work, and actively push against their place in the larger community and culture — and show us how we can too.” — Helga Davis Subscribe to Helga on iTunes. About the host: Helga Davis is a sought-after vocalist for anyone who had something experimental or difficult to communicate. She has collaborated with noted musicians including Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Nona Hendryx, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Shara Nova and Paola Prestini — who in 2012, wrote the chamber opera Oceanic Verses for her. During that year, she was also chosen from among 40 performers to star as principal in the international revival of Robert Wilson’s and Philip Glass’s landmark opera Einstein on the Beach. Read more.
11/10/20163 minutes, 45 seconds