From the Highland village of Ullapool, a prominent performer in the Scottish Traditional Music scene and a much sought after performer, composer and tutor of the lever harp, Rachel has released 4 critically acclaimed albums and toured extensively throughout Europe, the USA and beyond, both as a soloist and with the “Rachel Hair Trio”.
Now based in Glasgow, a Scottish city renowned for its melting pot of musical and cultural style, Rachel is passionate about promoting the harp, Scotland’s most ancient instrument. She strives to open up fresh horizons for it, removing it from its stereotypical, stuffy ballroom image, whilst always remaining true to her Highland roots.
As well as performing as a soloist, Rachel currently performs in a duo with Scottish acoustic guitarist Ron Jappy.
Purveyors of Scotland’s most ancient and contemporary instruments (clarsach, Gaelic for Scottish harp, and acoustic guitar, respectively) these two halves created a whole in September 2017: a subtle ying-yang between spine-tingling clarity and virtuosic drive.
From snappy Strathspeys to heartfelt airs, from rip-roaring reels to chirpy jigs – theirs is the perfect synthesis of the modern and the traditional.
As individual musicians, the award-nominated dyad (hailing from the north of Scotland) spread their influence far and wide across the globe. As a pairing who tailor each performance to the needs of their audience, no corner of the world will go untouched by their rootsy charm.
Rachel is a much sought after celtic harp teacher worldwide, and has taught Scottish harp at numerous celtic harp festivals throughout the world. She has published 4 books of harp arrangements and compositions, and her music has featured on the syllabuses of both the RCS Scottish Harp grade exams, Trinity College London grade exams and national clarsach competitions.
She was nominated Tutor of the Year at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards.
Through her work as visiting harp for the Isle of Man, the smallest of the Celtic nations, Rachel has emerged as the world’s premiere specialist in Manx Harp music. Having founded the harp ensemble Claasagh on the island, she is at the forefront of a revival of Manx harp and this has led to invitations to teach and perform Manx music worldwide.
Some of the harp festivals that Rachel has performed / taught at include:
The Edinburgh International Harp Festival – Scotland
Somerset Folk Harp Festival – USA
Arfavita – Russia
Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique – France
Harfentreffen – Germany
Festival Internacional Arpa Sentmenat – Spain
Noia Harp Festival – Galicia
Celtic Days – Switzerland