Season's Greetings! Thanks to all who came along to a gig or bought a C.D this year. It is much appreciated, Rachel x
I'm delighted to have become a recipient of the Hands Up for Trad Ignition Award! The award is for innovation in traditional music and you can read all about it here. Below is my acceptance video :)
I'm very excited to have had my first rehearsal with my new band! Joining my lovely trio members Mattie and Lauren are Michael Owers (who played brass on the new album) on trombone and Sarah Hayes on keys and vocals. I'm very lucky that these four brilliant musicians are up for playing music with me and can't wait to get on the road for some gigs in the future. Our first gig as the full band will be in Glasgow at the Hug and Pint on the 9th November. Tickets available here. As well as trying out some songs, we also made a couple of music videos for tracks from the album. Have a look!
My new album Here's My Heart Come Take It is out this Friday the 15th April and I'm delighted to have received some lovely reviews so far including from today's Observer, describing it as 'a beauty'.
Check out this new ten minute film by Somhairle MacDonald documenting the making of the album.
Delighted to be setting off on tour to promote the release of my new album Here's My Heart Come Take It. Dates below. Visit the live dates page for more info. You can also now pre-order the album from my website or, if you'd like to order a digital download, visit my Bandcamp page.
Delighted that my harp and I are featured in the most recent issue fRoots Magazine. Order your copy here!
It's been a great few months of music making. September saw the release of The Furrow Collective's new E.P 'Blow Out the Moon'. The record has gone down well, with 5 star reviews from both R2 and fRoots Magazines. Have a listen at our Bandcamp page or visit our website to order a copy.
Another release I was involved with in September was the new Boreas single. We were excited to share a track from our forthcoming album 'Ahoy Hoy' with a video. Check it out
October was possibly the craziest month of my life work wise, with many different gigs with various different bands in lots of different places! A highlight was the amazing Celtic Colours Festival, where I was performing with my trio. Here's a couple of the beautiful venues we played at
I had fun in November on tour with Emily Portman. We had a great time playing as a big band for the first time for our London performance. There will be more appearances from Emily Portman and The Coracle Band next year so look out for that. In the meantime, here's a live session we did for BBC Radio 2 at the start of the tour.
November also saw the announcement of The Shee's new project for 2016 'Continuum'. We're all very much looking forward to this special year to celebrate our ten year anniversary as a band starting with a Celtic Connections premiere on the 15th January. Read all about the project here.
I'm now back home in Glasgow and about to embark on the recording of my third solo album. I'm so excited to get started on it. I'll be heading down to Mattie Foulds' new studio Caribou Recording and working on new music with my trio (Mattie Foulds and Lauren MacColl). The album will be launched in spring 2016. Woop!
Greetings from a very cold and blustery Glasgow! I've just moved back here after a good few years away and am enjoying settling in. With the move and everything else, it's been a fairly eventful couple of months.
At the beginning of June, I joined Blue Rose Code for a performance at Pacific Quay for the BBC Scotland Quay Sessions. Here's 'Edina'
June also saw the launch of Emily Portman's new album Coracle. We had a great launch tour, trying out lots of new effects pedals and finding ways to emulate what we'd recorded in a live setting. The album's been getting lots of praise in the press, with the Observer describing it as a 'Marvellous, original work' and fRoots and Songlines both giving the album 5 stars. Here we are trying to figure out how to work all our new pedals!
After the tour, I went on to teach at Tinto Summer School at Wiston Lodge near Biggar. I was teaching harp and mixed instrument and was so inspired by the creativity of the participants. The environment created by those running the week really encourages this creativity and it was such a pleasure to be part of it. I'd recommend it to anyone and there's an adult summer school now too. Find out more here
I'm very excited to have booked in to record another solo album at the end of the year. Still in the very early stages of planning at the moment, but it feels good to have a target to write some new music of my own for. This week we got the masters back for the new Boreas album and the new Furrow Collective E.P. More news on both of these soon.
It's been such a busy couple of months that I didn't get a chance to write about any of it until now! I had a great time on tour at the start of April with The Furrow Collective. We tried out some of our new material and it seemed to go down well. Here is a (very grainy!) video of us rehearsing a new song to sing on our tour.
A couple of days after the Furrow tour came The Shee tour of Germany. It was our third trip out there with Keith Melville organising our gigs and driving us around and we had a brilliant time. The audiences were so warm and enthusiastic and as often happens in Germany, we were presented with flowers after most gigs. The beer was also a highlight as was having two days off to explore Berlin. In the above photo I'm tuning up before a gig in a beautiful old chapel and below is a gig we did in an old cinema right up near the Danish border.
After Germany, I headed down to Cardiff to join The Furrow Collective at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, where we were nominated for Best Traditional Track and Best Group. We didn't win either award, but we did have a fantastic time, including a rowdy late night sing along with Best Group winners, the brilliant Young'uns! After the awards, I went up north to Ullapool for a friend's wedding followed by gigging and teaching at Feis Rois. It was a brilliant, hectic weekend packed with sessions, workshops and gigs and I had a great time.
Returning south again, there was just time for a couple of lovely Shee gigs in Edinburgh and Moniaive before I made my way to Norway for my first ever tour with Boreas. What a stunning country Norway is! I was unprepared for how beautiful it is and spent a great time of time peering out the van window with a tear in my eye. Here are a couple of pictures from the trip, including a gig we did in a lighthouse.
After our last gig in Norway, it was the overnight bus to Oslo to catch a flight to Copenhagen then Edinburgh and straight in the car to join the Furrow Collective in Wales (again). This time it was at Giant Wafer Studios to record our new songs. We'll be sharing these with you later in the year and I can't wait. It's such a joy to work with this lot. Here's producer/engineer Andy Bell and Furrow member Lucy trying out some drums in the studio.
Looking forward to June, where I'll mostly be writing some new music of my own and preparing for Emily Portman's launch tour of her new album Coracle. It's to be released on the 19th and you can pre-order from the pledge music page still if you'd like a copy.
Spring is finally here! Having a very enjoyable March making the most of a bit of time at home before setting off for lots of musical adventures over the next couple of months.
Feis Rois VOYAGE OF THE HECTOR Recording
Last weekend I was up in Dingwall recording harp alongside lots of fellow former Feis Rois participants for John Somerville's piece Voyage of the Hector. The piece was commissioned to mark the voyage of the ship Hector from Ullapool to Nova Scotia in the 1700s. It was lovely to catch up with old friends and play some of John's great tunes from the piece. The record will be launched in Ullapool at the Adult Feis Rois in May. I'll be there teaching harp and step dancing. It's set to be a great weekend. For more info, click here.
The Furrow Collective - New Songs and Tour Dates
One last plug for The Furrow Collective Spring Tour. We're starting off later this week (28th March) in Birmingham. We had a great time in the Lake District arranging new songs. Just like the last album, we've ended up with more than enough material, which we'll be trying out at our upcoming gigs. For a look at the dates, check out the website www.thefurrowcollective.co.uk
Here's Lucy and I outside the lovely cottage we were staying in...