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All tracks composed, performed (vocals, keyboards, programming), and produced and mxied by Esbe.


Saqqara, my fifth studio album, is particularly special to me during the Covid 19 pandemic as it's a memory of journeys taken before global travel restrictions.


Saqqara is the oldest necropolis pyramid in Egypt and its silhouette became the inspiration to record a collection of songs recollecting images of the art and artefacts I saw en route down to Aswan. I travelled by road, following the Nile, pausing at the wonderful sites along the way, and each time falling more in love with the beauty and majesty of these ancient creations.


The hot dusty desert is a bleak but romantic setting for the looming pyramids and the sumptuous brightly painted wall art inside. As I recorded each song, back in my north London studio, I was happily transported back to that glorious hot summer, with visions of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Tutankhamun, and earlier still, King Khufu.


Processions around the newly built pyramids, then clad in sun-gleaming limestone, became the location for my own personal film song sound-track.


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Daughters Of The Desert are Esbe,

Jude Cowan Montague and Mia Kukathasan.


All tracks produced and mixed by Esbe except (4) by Mia Kukathasan.

Many fine things come out of London’s Resonance FM - DJ Ritu’s A World in London, Debbie Golt’s Outer Globe and Jude Cowan Montague’s The News Agents and now, ‘Sorrow Soothe’, the latest project to have been born at the London Musicians’ Collective Resonance FM.

Produced by Esbe remotely during lock down, Sorrow Soothe is a soaring and gentle collection that incorporates experiments in voice and instrumentation. Its songs, incantations, and pounding rhythmic beats are interwoven with strings and electronic samples.


Enigmatic whisperings, a sound that reflects the loneliness of desert life, and a silken vocal lament of isolation, the songs reflect the landscape of contemplation and the hardship of what it is to be human, but in particular, a woman.


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All tracks composed, performed (vocals, keyboards, programming), and produced and mixed by Esbe.

Mastered by Ian Jones at Abbey Road Studios, London. Artwork and album design by Esbe.

I first became interested in the literary heritage of the Middle East when I read that the European troubadours shared a tradition with Bedouin poet travellers. I'd always been intrigued by the Troubadours – the freedom and romanticism. Reading more about the era and examples of poetry – in English translations – I was struck by the resonance of their themes and timeless connection with contemporary thought and life experience. With two day passes to the British Museum, I pored through various almost forgotten translations of Ibn Sa'id, Jamil of Udhra, and the most famous of all today, Jalaluddin Rumi – the most widely read poet in America.

The earliest date from around the 9th Century, whilst Rumi, the mystic Sufi poet from Afghanistan who lived most of his life in Turkey was born in the C13th. The Rumi poems are taken from 'Words of Paradise', a book of new interpretations of Rumi by friend, Raficq Abdulla.

This album is my homage to the region, its poets and our own literary past.


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All tracks composed, performed (vocals, keyboards, programming), and produced and mixed by Esbe.


Trumpet on (5), (7) - Nick Thompson.
Recorded and engineered by Esbe
except Someone, Somewhere, engineered by Gary Stout at MasterRock Studios, London.
Mastered by Ian Jones at Abbey Road Studios.
Artwork and album cover design by Esbe.

Mystras, in the Peloponnese, is one of the most romantic places I've ever visited, with its ancient churches and monasteries nestling on a lush, steep, sleepy hillside. Once inside the monumental stone structures, your eyes become accustomed to the dark as the walls reveal their sumptuous frescoes and gilded icons. These are some of what's left of the magnificent Byzantine Empire which reigned for 1500 years.


Esbe music design UK art
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All tracks composed, arranged, performed (vocals, guitar), and produced and mixed by Esbe.

Mastered by Ian Jones at Abbey Road Studios.
Artwork and album cover design by Esbe.

Ten Songs utilises my voice and a couple of guitars – the instrument made for me by the excellent luthier Alastair McNeill, plus a steel-string I borrowed from my pal Clifford. I'd intended to borrow an electric too but never quite got round to it. Tracked vocals and lots of guitars.

Like the album, Far Away, as well as love songs, some of the poems are drawn from very personal subjects and can seem rather intense, in particular, (4) and (8) about homelessness, and 'Only You' (7), a reminder of distressing historical events – in this case Kristallnacht. There's also an unusual song about the brain (10).


Esbe music design UK art
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bandcamp

All tracks composed, arranged, performed (vocals, guitar, keyboard strings), and produced and mixed by Esbe.

Mastered by Ian Jones at Abbey Road Studios.
Artwork and album cover design by Esbe.

My first love was the guitar, and this first album is me, my beloved guitar, and the melancholy thoughts that drift, trying to settle as sad but necessary contemplations. The allusion to Stevie Smith's 'Not waving but drowning' hints at a little of what's going on inside 'Far Away'. As if by coincidence, water, and the sea in particular, is a recurrent theme.

The album was recorded very simply, no overdubs, edits, or sophisticated gizmos – one or two guitars, and one or two vocals, recorded in one take. And for those multi-taskers, I can't play and sing at the same time, so the guitar was recorded first whilst hearing the vocal in my head, which was then sung, 'karaoke' style afterwards.

The lyrics are poems written from the heart and focus on some of the issues current at the time. Of course, love features - in many guises - but some of the other subjects make for slightly uncomfortable reading – a sense of separation (1), future grief (2), suicide (3), depression (4), my early divorce (6), and cruelty (9). But despite the topics, I somehow feel the music itself is reflective, intense and gentle. Melody is what the ear is drawn to and I hope that this is lyrical and positive regardless of the lyrics.