Read any review of the Rachel Hair Trio, and the superlatives fairly pour out.
“Utterly spellbinding ... full of subtle delights and innumerable charms”; “An unbelievable creative force in Scottish music”; “The Rachel Hair Trio seem to be a group running over with talent. Great fun”, to quote but a few.
Forfar Arts Guild’s programme this season has already been very upbeat, but Thursday evening (tomorrow) at 7.30 p.m. in the East and Old church hall in Chapel Street looks to raise the bars even higher, as Rachel swings into action with friends Jenn Butterworth on guitar and Euan Burton on double bass in an eclectic mix of music from a’ the airts.
Rachel, originally from Ullapool, began playing clarsach aged 10, and found moving to Edinburgh a huge culture shock, with more pupils in her year than had been in the entire High School in Ullapool.
However, it did expose her to more music via easily-purchased CDs and concerts, as well as the competition of having several other talented harpists around instead of being the village’s only player.
Rachel’s answer to it all was constant practice, playing at weddings, corporate events, and eventually teaching, all which helped see her through her first class honours degree at Strathclyde University, where she was also awarded the Alexander Stone Award.
She captivated the Forfar Arts Guild’s audience on her last visit with her easy style, hilarious intros and fantastic playing (which inspired one young member to take up the clarsach).
Her original trio disbanded due to other commitments, but with Jenn’s strong guitar playing and beguiling voice, as well as a talent for songwriting, and Euan’s creative and imaginative bass playing, the trio line-up was cemented. Jenn has performed with the best of the Scottish music scene, including Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, whilst Euan has established an international reputation, playing with top international jazz musicians.
“It’s much more of a proper trio now,” says Rachel, and whilst she still chooses and writes most of the tunes, she does so playing to the strengths of her co-conspirators, working on the arrangements together.
The results can be heard in their new album “No More Wings”, the new tracks sitting alongside traditional and contemporary tunes from Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Asturias and Sweden, the whole mix “crackling with character, passion, verve and joie de vivre.
What more can you ask for in a miserable November?
Get your feet tapping on Thursday, go along and help raise the roof! All are welcome, tickets at the door are £7 per adult, £1 for children.