CLOUDS is a uniquely original harp quartet; their genre-defying music astonishes audiences, and challenges traditional stereotypes of the harp.
Their music is composed by founding member Esther Swift, who draws on many influences including: Scottish folk music, minimalism, world music and improvisation. Remarkably, Esther’s compositional process does not include the scribing of her music, and so CLOUDS learn their music by ear, and perform it all from memory.
CLOUDS have released four albums: Clouds, Water, Golden Light and Up She Rises, which were all released alongside UK wide tours. Their discography shows an impressive development of their musical ideas, with their music evolving evermore complex and inventive soundworlds.
Performance highlights include a special commission from Manchester Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections, Manchester Midday Concert Series at the Bridgewater Hall, Swaledale Festival and a performance to celebrate the opening of Moat Brae National Centre for Children's Literature. Upcoming 2021 appearances include the Dutch Harp Festival and the World Harp Congress.
The members of CLOUDS are Angelina Egerton, Elfair Grug, Rebecca Mills, Elinor Nicholson and Esther Swift, who all met whilst studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
"The audience response was immediate, garnering a standing ovation of warmth and gratitude – along with an encore of 'Text' – for an imaginative work which touched hearts on so many levels, and one which I would dearly love to hear again."
- Adrian Pallant, London Jazz News
"Esther’s music is not just pretty tinkling harp strings – from tiny, almost inaudible
sounds to huge crescendos; lilting folky rhythms to jagged syncopation – she makes the 188 harp strings speak and sing… "
- Claire Garnett