Helicon was formed in 1983 by Chris Norman and Ken Kolodner. Norman, who played flute and whistle, was a college drop-out, while Kolodner, who managed hammered dulcimer and fiddle, had a Ph.D. Together, this unlikely pair started performing and touring, basing their sound on a shared interest in celtic music. This interest was reflected in their first album, Daybreak, released in 1985. In 1986, they added guitar and cittern player Robin Bullock to their lineup and began to branch out from their celtic roots to explore a plethora of musical traditions, ranging from South America to China.