Esther Swift explores ritual, connection, isolation, and the natural world in her New Voices series of pieces for harp, voice, electronics, viola, violin, percussion and trombone. A prolific, boldly innovative harpist, composer and singer – previously known to Celtic Connections audiences as half of Twelfth Day – Esther works across genres as diverse as classical chamber music and free improvisation. Having studied at Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Music School and the Royal Northern College of Music, as well as with harp pioneer Catriona McKay, she has received numerous prestigious commissions and featured in many international collaborations.
In Emergence, Esther combines her own songs with instrumental tracks and settings of poems by Rachel McCrum and William Butler Yeats, as well as echoing the words of Glaswegian poet Edwin Morgan. After being commissioned by The Edwin Morgan Trust earlier this year, she has gained a deeper love and appreciation for this poet's extensive and chameleonic legacy which was always delivered with playfulness and joy. Likened to Kate Bush, Anna Meredith and Bjork Esther combines her love of folk, jazz, classical and all things in between in this debut line-up, featuring Matt Collings (electronics), Emma Lloyd (viola and violin), Patrick Kenny (trombone, alphorn and carnyx) and Owen Williams (drums, percussion), along with guest artists Catriona Price (violin), Matt Wright (saxophone) and Linh Ha (remote pre-recorded contribution of electronics and voice).