Rachel Hair is one of one of Scotland’s finest players of the clarsach, the Scottish harp. Originally from the Highland village of Ullapool, Rachel was introduced to the clarsach through the work of the Feis movement. She has since graduated with a first class honors degree in Music from the University of Strathclyde where she was also awarded the Alexander Stone Prize for Outstanding Performance in her solo clarsach recital.
Rachel has been going from strength to strength as a professional musician and has steadily begun to gain recognition as a performer and a composer. Over the past year she has played several times throughout Europe India toured twice throughout the USA as well as playing regularly throughout Scotland and the UK. She has also performed on the infamous BBC Hogmanay Live show with top musicians Eddi Reader, Phil Cunningham, Karen Matheson, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and Aly Bain as a soloist at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the much coveted Edinburgh International Harp Festival.
Rachel is a member of the harp trio Starlit 3 (Rachel Hair, Jennifer Port and Rachel Newton) whose exciting new approach to traditional music on the Scottish harp has gained critical recognition. Their debut album came out in early 2006.
Her debut solo album, Hubcaps and Potholes, was released in 2006. In 2009, Rachel released her second album, The Lucky Smile, with a trio format, featuring jazz musicians Paul Tracey on guitar and Andy Sharkey on bass.
No More Wings, released in 2012 include original compositions together with traditional and contemporary pieces from Scotland, Ireland, Brittany (France), Asturias (Spain) and Sweden.
Maggie MacInnes sings and plays the clarsach. She was born in Glasgow and now lives in Ayrshire. She comes from a long line of Gaelic singers from the small island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and learns most of her songs from her mother the highly acclaimed traditional singer Flora MacNeil, M.B.E.
Maggie has been involved in various groups over the years such as Ossian Fuaim and Eclipse First and has traveled widely with her music touring in many parts of Europe U.S.A. and Canada. She also appears frequently on Radio and Television and has made various recordings over the years.
Autumn 1998 saw the release of Maggie’s first solo CD Eilean Mara on Dunkeld Records which was co-produced by Dougie MacLean and received great critical acclaim. In 2001 Maggie released her second solo CD which is called Spiorad Beatha – The Spirit of Life and features some of Scotland’s finest musicians such as Charlie McKerron (of Capercaillie) Brian McAlpine (formerly of Iron Horse) Sean O’Rourke (formerly of JSD Band) Marie Fielding Paul Jennings and Keith Easdale along with her mother Flora on backing vocals.
Maggie followed up the release of the record by performing at various festivals at home in Ireland and in Italy as well as being invited to Russia for the 1st International Festival of Celtic Music and Dance of Moscow where she was accompanied by the flute and saxophone player Sean O’Rourke and the percussion player Frank MacGuire.
In 2002 Maggie performed at the Celtic Connections Festival and The Edinburgh International Harp Festival and she was one of those chosen to take part in a two week tour of Scotland with Scottish Women which involved Scots and Gaelic singers coming together to showcase some of the finest songs from the two traditions with a backing band of some of the finest Scottish musicians under the musical direction of Brian McNeill Head of Scottish Music in the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Maggie also produced and directed a new show/concert called Burns and the Gaels which looked at the links between the works of Robert Burns and Gaelic music and poetry. This event combined music poetry and song and featured Maggie along with Sheena Wellington Rod Paterson Ishbel MacAskill and Finlay MacDonald amongst others. Burns and the Gaels and Scottish Women were both performed at Celtic Connections Festival in January 2003.
Maggie was chosen by the voting public as Best Gaelic Singer of the Year at the 2004 Scots Trad Music Awards.