Alex Monaghan, Irish Music Magazine

rachel

One of the new wave of harpists playing challenging melodies and arrangements on this ancient Celtic instrument, Rachel helped to establish a modern harp sound with her trio line-up, but on her fifth album she’s gone back to her roots, back to basics, back to the music she most loves to play. Together with guitarist Ron Jappy, Rachel presents traditional …

Living Tradition

rachel

Celtic harpist Rachel Hair’s second trio studio release, with Jenn Butterworth (guitar, vocals) and Cameron Maxwell (double bass) perfectly illustrates the wide sonic spectrum of these three instruments and how to combine them to great effect in cleverly styled contemporary arrangements founded on intricate interplay. Self composed tunes are interwoven into sets with a slip jig from the Manx tradition, …

Fatea

rachel

Having recently taken up the harp, I was thrilled to have this new release from the Rachel Hair Trio for review. From the slick, minimalist artwork to the refreshing mix of traditional and original compositions, it is clear that this ensemble are delivering a very modern take on one of Scotland’s most traditional instruments. As well as her many performing …

About Trì with folkradio

rachel

Hailing form Ullapool, in Scotland’s northwest, Rachel Hair is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and accomplished players of the Celtic harp, or clàrsach. She started her professional life as a soloist, but soon realised that the trio format gave her the sound she was looking for. The trio’s line-up has been in flux, but on the last album settled …

Northern Sky

rachel

If you enjoy the sound of the harp and want to hear it at the top of the mix and also played with exceptional flair and poise, then the Rachel Hair Trio’s latest release is the record for you. Certainly amongst this country’s finest exponents of the Celtic harp, Rachel manages to capture on disc the same sort of atmosphere …

Bright Young Folk

rachel

The Rachel Hair Trio returns after a recording absence of six years with their second album, the simply titled Tri, which is Scottish Gaelic for ’three’. Unlike their 2009 debut No More Wings, the three musicians play everything on this release without relying on guest performers, in an attempt to capture their true sound. With inspiration for the collection’s original compositions drawn …

fRoots

rachel

This is the welcome second album from a trio consisting of sparkling Scottish harp (Rachel Hair), guitar/vocals (Jenn Butterworth) and double bass (Cameron Maxwell). They perform bright, rhythmic arrangements of traditional tunes (Scottish, Irish, Manx and Norwegian) and contemporary, jazzy material composed by members of the band. The album has a well-judged balance of sequencing between old and new, gentle …

R2 Magazine

rachel

Thus far, Rachel Hair’s previous recordings – two solo and one with the trio – have slipped under my personal radar, but I’m very pleased that this one came to my attention. Hair’s a harpist of real delicacy and clarity, who takes the Scottish tradition and, with guitarist/vocalist Jenn Butterworth and double bassist Cameron Maxwell, tweaks it ever so slightly …

The Scotsman

rachel

Trì is Gaelic for three and this album from harpist Hair and her two bandmates, Jenn Butterworth on guitar and vocals and Cameron Maxwell on double bass, showcases three stringed instruments expertly balanced with each other, finely contrasting in tone and bursting with melodic energy. A nice mix of traditional and contemporary material ranges from jazz pianist Tom Gibbs’s quirky …

Shire Folk

rachel

The name is new to me, but my interest was stirred by the instrumental line-up: harp (Rachel Hair), double bass (Cameron Maxwell), guitar and vocals (Jenn Butterworth). The track list intrigued too, its eight tunes and three songs combining original and contemporary material with traditional Celtic sources. Rachel Hair’s ‘Jigs for Mann’ set opens the CD in sparkling style. In …

Songlines

rachel

Trì is Gaelic for three, and only three instruments – namely Rachel Hair’s harp, Jenn Butterworth’s guitar and the double bass of Cameron Maxwell – appear on this album, with Butterworth’s voice featuring on three songs. The musicians coax from their three instruments a range of sounds: the double bass, for instance, adds a drone like bagpipes only much deeper, …

Stirrings Magazine

rachel

Rachel Hair, hailing from Ullapool in the inordinately beautiful north-west of Scotland, is a young and gifted exponent of the clarsach (Scottish harp) who first came onto my radar almost a decade ago with her unpretentious and sensitively configured debut CD Hubcaps and Potholes, which did a lot to convince unbelievers of the potential and strength of the clarsach as …

Barry Gordon, Northings

adam

ON A warm and unseasonably balmy late-September evening in the Scottish capital, the autumnal sounds of the Rachel Hair Trio provided a stark contrast to the weather conditions outside The Pleasance. Indeed, Hair’s music is more likely to conjure up images of falling leaves than palm trees; nevertheless, the Ullapool-born harper has a canny knack for blending traditional and contemporary …

Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman

adam

An accomplished and enjoyable debut from one of Scotland’s brightest young harpists. Her deft and sensitive playing displays a pleasing freshness and rhythmic vitality as well as notable technical prowess. The album is mostly solo clarsach, with piano accompaniment on three sets and flute on another. The Ullapool-born musician is of mixed Scottish and Irish descent, and that is reflected in her choice of material …

Andy Jurgis, www.rambles.net

adam

Scottish-Irish musician Rachel Hair is a superb player of the clarsach, the traditional Scottish harp, and this debut album is hugely welcome. In fact, it would be difficult to find another Celtic music debut album of such consistent quality and beauty. The 19 tunes over 11 tracks consist of seven Scottish and Irish traditional tunes, six of Rachel’s own compositions …

Debbie Koritsas, The Living Tradition

adam

Rachel Hair began to learn clarsach at age ten, and graduated with a first class degree from Strathclyde University, her final solo honours recital winning her a prize. With her family hailing from Scotland and Ireland, you begin to appreciate the album’s sub-title, ‘Scottish, Irish and original harp music’. Rachel’s original tunes include the lively, cheerful ‘Starry-Eyed Lads’ and ‘Charmed’, …

Geoff Wallis, The Irish Music Review

adam

Subtitled ‘Scottish, Irish and Original Harp Music’, Hubcaps & Potholes marks the recording debut of one of the most innovative young musicians to have emerged over the last few years. Of mixed Scots and Irish parents (her mother is from County Antrim), Rachel hails from Ullapool, up in the far northwest of Scotland and has already gained a deserved reputation …

Debbie Koritsas, Songlines

adam

The Lucky Smile is a sparkling recording centred around Rachel Hair’s pristine, beautifully detailed harp-playing, the tune selections by turns lively and emotionally expressive. The collection showcases the possibilities of this Celtic instrument in a thoroughly modern setting; Hair’s Starfish harp is surrounded on several tracks by acoustic guitar, double bass, drums and percussion, harmonium, Rhodes electric piano and fiddle, …