Frank Van Essen

Frank's Gear Page > Songwriter, musician Iona / 1990-1993, 1999-present
Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals
Photos by Lutz Diehl, Joe del Tufo, Mike Anders, Monica Duffels & Janien Kommer
F rank was born in 1967 and was brought up with music, both his parents being professional musicians, and with a brother studying violin at the conservatoire of music.

Frank's first drums were his mum's pots & pans, and many buckets lost their bottoms, much of her dismay! Although clearly a rhythmic talent who could never sit still, Frank decided to pick up violin, probably brainwashed hearing his brother practicing scales for 6 hours a day! He was never a really good student (always too many other hobbies) but Frank turned out to be a very talented and natural violin player who developed his own style from very early on. He learned mainly from just copying what he heard his teachers play - and was caught years later when one of his teachers discovered he wasn't actually reading his music, but playing by ear!

His fascination with rhythm & drums was never gone. At age 15 he got the opportunity to take up the sticks, and started practicing like a madman - soon to be a better player than his first teacher!

From that time on he started playing in all kinds of bands (including his high school's big band whose favorite tune was the Muppet Show theme!) mainly playing worship and gospel music. His first band was called "Judah" - a Youth with a Mission band with Dave & Becky Durham, Fred & Mary Dallenbach and Celeste Yohai, together with Karen Lafferty.

From then on, Frank quickly became a number one choice for many sessions and live performances, including concerts with Margaret Becker, Rick Cua, Marcel McArthur, Jessy Dixon, Billy & Sarah Gaines, Susan Ashton, Julie & Buddy Miller, Nina Astroem, Adrian Snell, Chris Eaton, Ralph van Manen & many others.

He met Dave Bainbridge in 1989 while touring Adrian Snell's "The Passion" and was asked to join in 1990. The band played a few concerts at Flevo, Christian Artists, the Spoor 7 festival in Holland and a performance at the Leverkusen Jazz festival, and was featured in a 60-minute documentary by Dutch television which brought the band to and Mull.

It soon became evident that the logistics of having a Dutch drummer was a little too complicated for the band, so after one and a half years, their ways parted again. Frank had joined a well known Dutch worship band (the Ronduit -unpronounceable for the English, I know!- Praise Band) in the meantime as drummer, violin player and singer, and was soon asked to start writing songs and arranging for the band, something he really enjoyed and perfected in the years to follow. Some of Frank's songs became very well known and are sung regularly in Dutch churches. Frank rejoined in June 1998, soon after the departure of drummer Terl Bryant.

Over the years, Frank and his wife Marlou recorded many CD's in Dutch in their own studio, including a Christmas CD in Dutch titled "Immanuel", featuring Dave Bainbridge & Troy Donockley. At the moment of writing this (June 2011) they are working on their solo album which will be released towards the end of 2011. Frank and Marlou regularly lead worship in churches and conferences throughout the world, with their own band called "Dew" sometimes joined by members of (see ).

In 1997, Frank was asked to be music director for EO's Classic Festival which led him to writing and arranging for a small orchestra. From that moment on, he fell in love with writing for strings. Today he is regularly called upon as string arranger and performer for many well known Dutch artists (see ). His strings can be heard on several hit radio singles. At the moment, Frank is studying Orchestration with the Berklee School of Music in the USA to further develop his skills as arranger and orchestrator for full orchestra.

Frank's wide variety of musical activities include composition, arranging, producing, teaching, recording, mixing & mastering in his own studio.

Frank lives in Collendoorn with his wife Marlou and 5 cats.
Comments (0)
View All
News:

28th August 2020

Sally Minnear and Dave Bainbridge will be performing 3 Iona songs on Saturday at this great online festival!

View Details



9th September 2020

View Details



23rd June 2020

ONE MORE FOR THE MAP PROJECT ......
One of the treasures of our lockdown has been creating and recording music with Natasha Petrovic de Maio. We met for the first time back in March on the Kintsugi Hope Tour when it seemed like we were a music match made in heaven. Today we finished recording an 11 minute song called โ€œ Finding My Way Backโ€ which will be the finale track of the MAP PROJECT coming soon......
In the meantime, lots of wonderful Iona memorabilia and archive to enjoy ๐Ÿ˜€

View Details



6th May 2020

View Details



13th May 2020

View Details



27th April 2020

View Details



13th April 2020

Pre-orders The Book of Iona AND the all the re-issued Iona studio albums with their their new companion disks, and much more at the new Open Sky Records store!!!

View Details



27th April 2020

Hey everyone, quick update from Dave. Firstly I hope everyone is keeping well and safe. In these times of enforced isolation I've been steadily working away on 'The Book of Iona' Iona box set over the past several weeks and there has been an exciting development!

The original idea was to include one dvd in the box, however we've decided to leave that until the full Iona DVD box set comes out, and instead to include a cd of newly recorded versions of a number of Iona tunes, but not as you've heard them before! This cd, to be titled The Sound World of Iona will be cd 17 in the box! It will include new mainly (but not all) instrumental recordings featuring past Iona band members David Fitzgerald, Nick Beggs, Frank Van Essen Troy Donockley, Terl Bryant, Tim Harries, Martin Nolan, Mike Haughton, Martin Neil and (tbc at the time of writing), Phil Barker. Plus myself, both solo and in collaboration and special guest Sally Minnear. Some tracks are already recorded and others will be completed over the next week or so. I'm very excited about this development and it will really be the icing on the cake for what will be an incredible release, which already includes some great, previously unreleased recordings from the band!

Pre-orders for the box set will be starting very soon!

View Details



16th March 2020

View Details



15th March 2020

View Details



9th March 2020

BEACHY HEAD ..... from Beyond These Shores.

View Details



7th March 2020

This was yesterday !

View Details



11th February 2020

View Details



6th February 2020

View Details



3rd February 2020

View Details



29th January 2020

View Details



21st January 2020

View Details



18th January 2020

View Details



1st December 2019

View Details



29th November 2019

View Details



3rd December 2019

Frank is releasing a new, meditative album soon. Available for pre-order now!

View Details



5th October 2019

View Details



3rd October 2019

View Details



24th September 2019

View Details



20th September 2019

View Details



2nd September 2019

REVISITING SOME ANCIENT WELLS!
A few images from some Donegal sites that have inspired some songs..... like
Ancient Wells, Edge of the World, Here I Stand.....
Tonight Iโ€™ll be joining with the musicians of New Irish Arts at the Bangor Mission Convention concert to perform a few songs including The Ancient Wells. Then on Monday Iโ€™m travelling to Gartan in Donegal ( birthplace of St Colmkille) to join with Rhema Ministries and Rebecca Friedlander on a Worship/intercession tour of ancient Celtic Christian sites in Ireland. Excited. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™

View Details



17th August 2019

Murlough Bay..... still one of Irelandโ€™s best kept secrets. A special place.

View Details



8th August 2019

A few images from my recent trip to Donegal, including the cover image for new album Avec Toi ( taken by Trevor Cole) for release this week on Bluecoastmusic.com. ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ˜

View Details



22nd July 2019

Donegal...... just beautiful.
Always inspiring to be here...... ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ™

View Details



15th July 2019

DANCING......
I stumbled across this on YouTube today. A song I recorded in 2008 in Nashville for a solo album entitled Personal..... one that went well under the radar and is no longer available.
Also features some lovely low whistle by Troy Donockley ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ˜

View Details





> More News on Facebook
More Band Bios: