Ling Shien Bell

Photo by Andy Mogg © 2003

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Ling Shien Bell

Ling Shien plays mismar (an Arabic oboe), nai (an Arabic flute), and other assorted Arabic woodwinds and rebaba, a member of the violin family. She also is the composer of the band Helm's original songs.

The band has various configurations depending on the types of music played. The core of the group consists of Ling Shien and Mark Bell. Helm is based in Northern California in Marin County.

Ling Shien draws upon her study of Arabic music theory as well as her time spent in Egypt to create her compositions. Ling Shien began playing Middle Eastern music in 1980 soon after meeting Mark. Her background in Western classical music and her ability to distinguish quartertones enabled her to successfully adapt to this complex music. Her new interest in accordion expands Helm's musical horizons as does her recent studies in Turkish music.

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Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Ling Shien

  • Helm Istanbul'da Making Music in Turkey
    We discovered Turkish classical music through our friend Sinan Erdemsel. To the dellight of many music lovers, he has been coming to teach at Lark Camp in Mendocino, California, for the past 10 years.
  • Europe- Helm Musical Adventures, Part 3
    Last winter my husband, Mark Bell, and I were hosted in Paris and Slovenia to teach Middle Eastern rhythms and present Tribal Belly Dance with live music. The following are photos from our adventures.
  • Roma Tribal Forum, More of Helm's Musical Adventures
    The growing interest for both styles of Tribal Dance inspired them to hold a Tribal Meeting in this ancient city.

  • We were delighted when Colleena Shakti invited us to teach classes concerning Musicality for Dancers at the Colleena Shakti School of Dance in Pushkar, Rajastan. Last January, we made the trek over water and mountains to reach this fascinating land. Pushkar holds the only temple dedicated to Brahma, the creator, as well as many other temples.
  • Ling Shien demonstrates the Accordion
    She came to the Gilded Serpent studio to tell us how she has modified a standard western made accordion to be able to play the quarter tones required in many of the Arabic modes.
  • Solstice Festival in Catalunia, Spain
    For the third year in a row, Maria Cresswell produced a dance and music festival honoring the Summer Soltice. This year's three day event took place high up in the Catalunian Pyrenees, in a rustic hostel fed by fresh springs and bordered by a rushing river.
  • Making New Musical Inroads in Luxembourg 2005
    Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe. It was extremely educational for us to watch the learning process in three very diverse regions.
  • Adventure Amid the Tempest: The Biloxi Fest's Near Brush with Hurricane Katrina,
    Consequently, we did not allow Hurricane Katrina stop us from driving 450 miles to immerse ourselves in and perform with Mark and Ling Shien Bell of Helm! MORE PHOTOS ADDED!
  • Making New Musical Inroads in Spain
    Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe, series continues...
  • Making New Musical Inroads in France and Ireland
    Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe, series continues...
  • Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe
    The musicians will be conducting a series of rhythm/music workshops in Ireland, Spain and Luxembourg this April.