Take the oldest Scottish instrument, the clarsach (harp), and the newest addition to the traditional music arsenal, the guitar, and throw them in the musical blender of Glasgow and out comes Rachel Hair and Ron Jappy. Superb instrumentalists with a shared passion for traditional tunes, they perform as if sharing one mind. Both from fishing villages rich in musical tradition, they sought to expand their understanding and studied music in Glasgow, training formally during the day and attending the famed night-time sessions of the city.
Don’t expect to get a nap in during a Rachel and Ron performance. While they might lull you for the start of a set into thinking you will hear spa-ready harp music, don’t be fooled. The first clue is when you notice that Rachel stands while playing. Her hands dance on the strings while her body dances with the harp as she blasts pre-conceptions and breaks out of the box while joyfully exploring the versatility of this beautiful instrument. Passionate about sharing the history of the harp and the culture of Scotland, the duo charms audiences wherever they go. From crisp strathspeys and heartfelt airs, to virtuosic reels and driving jigs, Rachel and Ron have combined their influences to embrace the rich cultural tradition in Scotland.
Ron, originally and still a fiddle player, grew up in Findochty and was a finalist in several of the UK’s most prestigious fiddle invitational competitions – the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship and the Highlands and Islands fiddle Masters. He started playing guitar while studying music in Glasgow and has toured with Skerryvore, Scott Wood Band, Mabon, and the BBC musicians of the year Hannah Rarity and Clare Hastings.
Rachel received first class honors when she left Ullapool and went to study in Glasgow, and received a BA in Applied Music. Regularly invited to teach and perform at harp festivals around the world Rachel is regarded as a specialist in Celtic harp, no easy task for someone so young. Rachel has released 4 CDs and 4 books of harp arrangements and original compositions. In 2012 she was in invited to perform for the Queen, what more can you say?
“Played with exceptional flair and poise… certainly amongst this country’s finest exponents of the Celtic harp” (Northern Sky)
“In Rachel’s hands the possibilities are endless, and the harp knows no boundaries; her relentless energy and appetite for exploring the possibilities that are open to her instrument ensure that hers will always be an interesting journey to follow” (Folk Radio UK)
“One of Scotland’s brightest young harpists” (Scotsman)
“Sparkling and brilliant harp playing” (Taplas)
“Utterly spellbinding. . . full of subtle delights and innumerable charms” (NetRhythms)
“One of the UK’s finest contemporary Celtic harpists and tunesmiths” (Songlines)
“There’s innovation here, but on a solid foundation” (Irish Music Magazine)
“Rachel Hair has that uncanny knack of picking just the right tunes to take her audience on a spectacular acoustic musical tour.” (Folkandroots.co.uk)
“Absolutely enthralling. . . brimming with spirit and vitality, with a unique and undeniable appeal. It would be easy to lose yourself in each and every track” (Folking.com)
“A style all her own that is very, very tasty. Welcome to the big leagues, Rachel!” (LiveIreland.com)
“Startlingly original. . . heralds the arrival of a major new talent” (Irish Music Review)
“Consistent quality and beauty. . . distinctively contemporary and original compositions. . . exploring every nuance of the instrument” (Rambles)
“An eminently tasteful, refreshing and subtly uplifting album. . . a delight from start to finish” (NetRhythms)