Lenora Zenzalai Helm is jazz vocal musician, composer, lyricist and educator with two decades of international acclaim, and has traveled abroad as a U.S. Jazz Ambassador. Ms. Helm tours with her trio internationally, headlining prestigious jazz festivals and in jazz concert halls, and has recorded with the biggest names in jazz.
Her discography includes five solo recordings of her own (four commercially available) which include renowned artists such as Ron Carter, Stanley Cowell, Dave Liebman, Mulgrew Miller and Branford Marsalis. Additionally, she appears as a featured guest on the recordings of Donald Brown, Antonio Hart, and Andrew Hill.
Helm earned her traveling and performing stripes on the road with many R&B, Pop and Jazz artists including Freddie Jackson, Michael Franks and Mexican pop star, Emmanuel. She was a member of the neo-soul vocal group SEPIA, with founder Marlon Saunders, Arif St. Michael and Rosa Russ, garnering an acclaimed international release, Absence of Pain. With SEPIA, Lenora also recorded with Japan’s Jiro Yoshida, French group, Sixun and many others.
Stretching her vocal repertoire beyond Jazz, R&B, and Pop, Helm won, by audition, key roles as a principal Soprano, performing classical repertoire with the Aquarius Opera Workshop in several seasons in New York City and with the Crittenden Opera Studio in Washington DC, under the direction of Richard Crittenden. Lenora studied Indian classical voice at the Jazz India Vocal Institute in Mumbai, India with Dhanashree Pandit Rai, resulting in in her own recorded compositions of Indian Classical & Jazz vocal collaborations.
Highlights of other vocal achievements include her recorded and live vocal performances with Dance Theatre of Harlem’s tour of “St. Louis Woman: A Blues Ballet.” Helm is on the music faculty at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC teaching jazz vocal performance in NCCU’s prestigious Jazz Studies program, and co-directing their NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Learn more about her composer, arts educator, and performance awards online at www.LenoraHelm.com .
Helm’s achievements in music have spanned 25 years garnering her inclusion as a subject of biographical record, since 2005, for Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in the World. Lenora Zenzalai Helm is an award winning jazz vocal musician, composer, lyricist and educator with two decades of international acclaim.
A former U.S. Jazz Ambassador for Southeastern Africa, she is a MacDowell Composer Fellow and the first Black female composer to win the Chamber Music America/ Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s New Works: Creation and Presentation jazz composers award.
This Chicago, IL native worked as a teaching artist for 20 years in New York City (previous to making Durham, NC her home) for Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Young Audiences of New York.
Helm is on the music faculty at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC teaching jazz vocal performance, jazz vocal ear training in NCCU’s undergraduate and graduate Jazz Studies program, and co-directing their NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Visit her online at www.LenoraHelm.com