On September 16, 2021 the preview of our duo’s edition of Class Notes with MPR made its debut. I have been collaborating with the wonderful Mikaela Marget as a duo called Heliopsis over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating improvisational works featuring Timbila, Mbira, and Cello.

When choosing a duo name, Mikaela Marget and Nyttu Chongo wanted something that reflected joy and light. They settled on Heliopsis, the scientific name for Sunflower, which captures the forward moving energy of the ensemble.

Heliopsis plays original music for various traditional instruments from Sub-Saharan Africa, cello, and voice. Their music ranges from raucous and dance-like to serene and peaceful. Each tune has an element of improvisation, so no two performances are the same.

Heliopsis is a 2021-2022 MPR Class Notes participating ensemble.

I invite you to listen and watch our latest lesson here.

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