Artist Information:


Esbe is a composer, producer, and singer from London. Her music is an eclectic blend of many influences, from her pure classical roots, but uniquely drawing on contemporary, world music and film scoring. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, where she gained an LRAM and won the prestigious 'Julian Bream Prize for Guitar', Esbe performed as a guitarist and singer in concerts around the UK. She particularly enjoyed singing Dowland and other early composers and this soon developed into composition and setting poetry to music. As the first collection of songs, which were only performed live, were heavily influenced by North African and Middle Eastern music, she engaged a line-up of musicians to reflect this. The group was named 'Shai', meaning 'gift' in Hebrew, reflecting her part Jewish/Arabic origins. An ongoing interest in 'World Music' then took her to India, and on her return Esbe wrote songs in homage to Qawaali singers – the great Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan being a particular favourite - which she performed with British Indian musicians.


An association with several recording studios, brought a variety of work from string arrangements to session work as both vocalist and guitarist. And she has always taught classical guitar privately, coaching students to Grade Eight and Diploma level. Five years ago, she developed the rare and debilitating condition of Musicians' Focal Dystonia. This affects just 3% of musicians, and there is no cure. Although there is a great sadness at losing the ability to play, the time she would have spent practising was used to pursue an art career alongside her studio recording. She exhibits with galleries and at art fairs around the UK, mainly working with glass, with a style influenced by Pop Art and Art Deco, and these can be seen in the elegant line drawings she created for the album art work.


Esbe has composed and recorded a great variety of music, each project with its own inventive mix of styles, and she has just completed a similarly unusual set of songs for an animation film. Esbe's musical influences are drawn from the classical world where she began her creative life, and arrangements and orchestrations display this. But, intriguingly, she is equally happy to encompass flavours from around the world. As well as writing her own lyrics, Esbe has set an eclectic choice of poems, from Gerard Manley Hopkins to the nonsense poet Mervyn Peake. And for the album, Desert Songs, she chose a selection of 8th – 13th century Middle Eastern poets, in English translation.