Congratulations to Rachel Hair who has been nominated in Music Tutor of the Year sponsored by Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2023. Vote for Rachel Hair now!. It’s going to be another great night at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday 2nd December in Dundee’s Caird Hall. Why not join us for a brilliant night of music and awards. Buy a ticket here.
We asked Rachel of Rachel Hair the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a Scottish harpist originally from the Highlands but now based in Glasgow. I split my career touring the world both as a soloist and with guitarist Ron Jappy, and teaching Scottish harp workshops throughout the world, weekly in Scotland and monthly on the Isle of Man and in the Netherlands.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
Scottish music has always been part of my life, having been brought up in the Highlands and learning my craft through the wonderful work of Fèis Rois.
I simply love that Scottish music isn’t just about the music, it’s about the culture, the history and stories that go along with the tunes. I’m passionate about passing these on to those who learn with me.
Any particular career highlights?
You know, I’ve been lucky enough to play and teach all over the world, and the pandemic actually gave me the opportunity to feel more connected to harpists as online teaching and workshops blossomed through those times. You know, I’ve been lucky enough to play and teach all over the world, and the pandemic actually gave me the opportunity to feel more connected to harpists as online teaching workshops blossomed through those times.
I taught many zoom workshops and recorded 4 YouTube harp series that have been viewed over 17,000 times. It’s been just magical this year to return to teaching in person abroad and hear ensembles and individuals play the harp arrangements that I taught online during the pandemic.
This year alone I’ve heard groups in Australia, Japan, and the US play my music in person to me. Just wonderful to know I’ve helped contribute to their repertoire and their enjoyment of making music as a group.
What are your plans for the future?
Well right now I’m busy rehearsing with 7 young harp players who I’m taking over to Ireland to take part in the Music Generation Tionól harp and pipes weekend. I’m so excited for them to get the chance to learn from some amazing tutors and am looking forward to teaching on it myself.
Next year in between touring I’ll be teaching at various harp festivals in Europe and the USA and I’m planning to publish more music online both for solo harpists and ensembles.
I’m also looking forward to playing a duet with my wee niece on Christmas Day as she’s recently started learning harp.
Rachel Hair Social Media
The 2023 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards are on the 2nd December 2023! You will be able to watch it live in person (buy a ticket here),Watch it live in the UK at 9pm (GMT) on BBC ALBA and and around the world here. Bands performing on Saturday 2nd December include Peatbog Faeries, Mànran, Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan, Duncan Chisholm Band, Joy Dunlop Band, Aberdeen SC&T Youth and more!
If you would like to support Hands Up for Trad in their work with Scottish trad music and musicians why not become a friend of Hands Up for Trad. In addition to our high profile events like the Scots Trad Music Awards, we also deliver a less well known, education programme for young people from 8yrs right through to young adults at the start of their careers. Read more here.