Barbara Higbie’s family moved to Ghana, West Africa when she was thirteen years of age. It was there she first fell in love with music and studied with master drummer Mustafa Tetty Addy. Later in life, after musical studies at Mills College, studies at the Sorbonne and a sojourn performing in Paris, she returned to West Africa with a Watson Fellowship to collect traditional music. A professional musician since age 17, Barbara has played everything from Traditional Jazz, Bluegrass and Irish to New Classical Music, Blues and African Pop. She is known for her ability to compose in a style that is both genre bending and accessible.
A Grammy-nominated, Bammy award winning composer, pianist, fiddler, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Barbara Higbie has performed on more than 100 albums, including Carlos Santana’s 2007 release. Her latest solo release, 2014’s “Scenes from Life” was recorded for at Lucas Film’s Skywalker Sound.
As a solo artist, Barbara’s first solo CD “Signs of Life” was named a Washington Post “Top Ten of the Year”. Four other solo releases, “I Surrender”, “Variations on a Happy Ending” and ‘Alive in Berkeley” and last year’s “Scenes from Life” followed to much critical acclaim.
In 2011, Higbie was the first ever “Artist in Residence” at the prestigious west coast Jazz Club, “Yoshi’s”, where she created two new bands. Roots music’s, “Hills to Hollers” with icons Linda Tillery and Laurie Lewis, and the exotic “Cello Heaven” with cellists Joan Jeanreneau of Kronos Quartet fame and new age star, Jami Sieber.
In 2014, at R. Kassman Fine Pianos in Berkeley, she was the sponsor and promoter of a piano series featuring Bay Area music icons Tammy Lynne Hawkins-Hall, Mary Watkins, Katrina Krimsky, Adrienne Torf, Frank Martin, and Zofo. She also hosted singer-songwriter, Deidre McCalla at the same venue.
Higbie has 13 solo and group recordings to her name, as well as contributions to 10 compilations that have sold in the millions. She was the first female instrumentalist to compose and record for Windham Hill Records, 1982’s Tideline, a duet project with violinist, Darol Anger. Tideline’s unique sound became an instant classic, thanks in part to Higbie’s innovative and moving compositions. One of her pieces from Tideline, ” True Story”, was downloaded on Pandora in 2014 more than 850,000 times.In June or 2015, Tideline was re-issued on Adventure Records.
1984 was an important year, when Higbie recorded, with Anger, Mike Marshall and Andy Narrell, “ Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival” for Windham Hill Records, a landmark genre defining album. Her composition “To Be” became Montreux’s radio/VH-1 hit. She toured world-wide with Montreux until 1990.
In addition to her instrumental music, Higbie’s singer-songwriter work, 2 CD’s with vocal dynamo, Teresa Trull, on Olivia Records and 2 solo CD’s on Slowbaby Records have won her critical acclaim and a large, devoted nationwide following.
Higbie has performed with Carlos Santana, Terry Riley, the Kronos Quartet, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Will Ackerman, Cris Williamson, Bobby McFerrin, Milton Nascimento, Spyro Gyra, Michael Hedges, Greg Brown, Ferron, Vinnie Colaiuta, Teresa Trull, Vicki Randle, Amy Ray, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Rosalee Sorrels, Terry Garthwaite, Laurie Lewis, Liz Story, Benny Rietveld and Alex De Grassi among others.
She tours nationally and internationally, and is the mother of a 17 year old daughter.