Helena Espvall is a Swedish-American musician noted for her participation in the post-millennial psychedelic folk and free improv scenes. Her primary instruments are cello, guitar and voice. Her early career included work with Arabian music ensemble Sumer and with Projektor 7, a silent movie orchestra formed by members of Swedish pop group Komeda. She relocated to Philadelphia, USA in the year 2000. Time spent concentrating on cello improvisation led to performances at the High Zero festival in 2001 and 2002.
Espvall subsequently entered Philadelphia’s flourishing psychedelic and weird-folk circles. She joined Espers shortly after they recorded their first album, was a member of The Valerie Project, and formed the duo Anahita with Tara Burke (a.k.a. Fursaxa). In 2006 a trio consisting of Espvall, Espers bandmate Meg Baird, and English folk singer Sharron Kraus released an album of traditional folk songs under the title ‘Leaves From Off The Tree’.
2006 also saw the release of Espvall’s first solo album, ‘Nimis & Arx’, named after the large-scale sculptures erected in the micronation of Ladonia by Swedish artist Lars Vilks.
Collaboration with Masaki Batoh (of Japanese psych band Ghost) produced two albums released by the Drag City label. The first of these, ‘Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh’, included several Swedish folk songs and marked the first prominent appearance of Espvall’s vocals. 2009’s ‘Overloaded Ark’ tilted toward extended psychedelic jams, featuring members of Ghost Junzo Tateiwa and Kazuo Ogino as well as ancient music specialist Haruo Kondo. In 2010 Espvall released ‘Lapidary’, an improvised collaboration with noise/drone figure Marcia Bassett.
In 2014, C.J. Boyd & Helena Espvall contributed a cover version of Under Ice to the album Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush Covers For Reproductive Rights.
Espvall frequently lends cello playing to the work of other musicians. She has been a member of the touring bands for Vashti Bunyan, Damon and Naomi, Ghost, and Marissa Nadler; she has made guest appearances on records by Bert Jansch, Arborea, and Charalambides, among others.
- Helena Espvall. Wikipedia, retrieved 3 October 2018.