ESTHER SWIFT – COMPOSER
Likened to Kate Bush, Eddie Reader and Joanna Newsom, singer-songwriter and harpist Esther Swift is an up and coming musician in the Scottish folk music scene. Whilst being heavily influenced by her folk roots, Esther’s music also combines jazz, blues and minimalist references. With a passion for pushing the boundaries of folk and classical harp music she has become a prolific song writer. A deep love of Scotland, the Scottish Borders (where Esther grew up) and nature continually inspire and influence her music; the songs of her new EP ‘The Mairches’ which features cojon, string quartet and trumpet, are based on her life growing up in The Scottish Borders.
Esther’s music has been aired on BBC Radio 2 (with Jimi Goodwin), Radio 3 (Late Junction and World on 3) and Radio 6 (Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour) and she has appeared at many festivals including Edinburgh International Festival, Wales International Harp Festival, Orkney Folk Festival, Buxton Fringe Festival, Other Voices Festival and Bromyard Folk Festival. She has also made guest appearances with Cherry Ghost on their new album ‘Herd Runners’, with the Loud Poets and regularly collaborates with singer David Douglas. Esther has toured extensively across the UK and won the Deutsche Bank Award in 2013 with her duo Twelfth Day.
Esther plays as a solo harpist/singer, in two duos; Twelfth Day with Catriona Price (fiddle/vocals) and Swift & Lindop with Jennie Lindop (Horn) and CLOUDS harp quartet with Elfair Grug Dyer, Rebecca Mills and Angelina Warburton. In all of these guises Esther writes original material which is enthralling, enchanting and beautiful. Her music is rarely written down which brings freedom and intimacy to performances. At only age 26 Esther has an impressive discography, and an exciting future ahead.
ABOUT THE BAND
CLOUDS Harp Quartet has been making new music together for the past ten years. The quartet started as four friends from music college learning a new piece together written by CLOUDS member Esther Swift (what would later become their first CD) and has now grown into one of the most respected and ground-breaking harp ensembles in the UK.
Since their college days they have released three CDs of original works – Clouds, Water, and Golden Light. The Summer of 2018 saw them record their fourth album of new music, which is due for release in May 2019.
CLOUDS harp quartet’s music is written by Esther Swift and draws much from her background in folk music and improvisation. Esther was recently commissioned by Irwin Mitchell and the Manchester Jazz Festival to compose a brand new piece for the 2018 festival. The resulting work, Light Gatherer, has achieved outstanding reviews and more performances are in the pipeline.
CLOUDS have toured extensively around the UK to promote their CDs, and tour venues have included the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, St. Giles Cathedral, Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
Whilst studying at the RNCM they performed together in a number of exciting venues including Huddersfield contemporary Music Festival in 2007 where they premièred ‘Anthill’ by Catherine Kontz; a concert celebrating John Cage’s music in The Baltic, Gateshead and a concert under the dinosaur in the Natural History Museum in London.
As individuals, all four are established as soloists, chamber and orchestral musicians: including performances at Cadogan Hall, Barbican and Royal Albert Hall, London and St.Davids Hall, Cardiff.
They have been involved in various orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, RNCM Symphony Orchestra, Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and Ορχήστρα των Χρωμάτων (Athens).