Helen Tate is an accomplished violinist and multi-instrumentalist with a repertoire of predominantly European folk music, Gypsy Jazz and original compositions which she performs both solo (with backing tracks) and with guitar accompaniment.
Helen started playing violin at the age of 7 benefiting from the renowned Bedfordshire music system that existed in the 1980's and 90's where children received free weekly peripatetic instrument lessons and subsidised holiday orchestral courses, giving her a solid grounding in classical music from a young age.
Whilst studying at Art School in Norwich she discovered the folk music scene and began playing at festivals around the country, this interest developed further after meeting Pete Cooper, a fiddle teacher at Cecil Sharpe House in London, who introduced her to learning by ear and folk music from Eastern Europe which opened up a new world of expression and changed the way she played and related to music.
Since 2012 Helen has been playing with bands and ensembles, including Spanner Jazz Punks, a psychedelic performance art band, several incarnations of folk duo's, The Filthy Spectacula, a gypsy punk band, a 16 piece swing band and an improvising ensemble playing at numerous festivals and venues around the country such as Jamboree, Cafe Oto, Secret Garden Party, Sunrise Celebration, Hootenany, Villiers Arts Festival to name but a few.
Helen is passionate about improvising, something which was deepened and expanded by attending Community Music and studying John Stevens workshop series Search and Reflect, which develops performers improvisation skills, through this she also became qualified as a music teacher/leader; this aspect is prominent in her current violin and guitar collaboration, performing and writing as the duo Jargo.