Qais Essar is a contemporary Afghan composer, instrumentalist and producer who channels his melodic designs through the rabab, a 2,500 year old instrument from Afghanistan. He has toured extensively, sharing his new genre of music nationally and internationally. Essar has released two LPs, four EPs and one live album. His first LP, The Green Language (2014), quickly became an Amazon #1 bestseller, followed by his second LP, Tavern of Ruin in 2016. He has contributed original music to feature films and recently was recruited by director Nora Twomey to compose an original song for her Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated film, The Breadwinner (produced by Angelina Jolie). His song won the Canadian Screen Award for “Achievement in Music – Best Original Song” for his piece The Crown Sleeps, which marks an indelible achievement for the young musician and composer. In 2017, Qais also orchestrated a sold-out run of the musical Tear a Root from the Earth at the OBIE award winning Ice Factory at the New Ohio Theatre in New York City.
Essar continues to be featured in festivals and venues around the world including the Newport Folk Festival, SXSW, The Kennedy Center, Treefort Music Festival and more. Essar is planning to tour and release his 3rd LP on April 13, titled The Ghost You Love Most. The Ghost You Love Most was recorded in bits and pieces in studios around the world from Los Angeles to Kolkata, Montreal to Istanbul, in studios big and small. Contributors were sprawled across the globe, so much of the album was recorded remotely between July through December 2017 in this fashion, where it was then mixed down and produced in Phoenix and finally mastered in Toronto in February 2018.
The album features a bevy of unusual and fascinating instruments. Starting with the Rabab, the album highlights Indian Santoor and Slide Guitar, Fretless Guitar, Kaval, Bass Veena (one of a kind)- in company with western instrumentation such as 12 String Guitars, Cellos, and Harps. The instruments create a soundscape and conjure up a cinematic narrative throughout. The featured musicians and instruments include Cenk Erodgan on Fretless Guitar, Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on Bass, Zach Tenorio – Miller & Ray Belli (Arc Iris) on Keys and Drums, with Kamaljeet Alhuwalia on Santoor, Sheela Bringi on Harp, Rhitom Sarkar on Indian Slide Guitar, Justin Gray on Bass Veena, Eric Zang on Kaval, Brian Wilson & Christopher Votek on Cello, Jason Wiedman on Drums, and Dallas Huber also on Bass.