This week’s Album of the Week is Tri from the Rachel Hair Trio.
From Manx jigs and jazzy marches, to haunting Gaelic ballads and sassy Strathspeys – Highland harper, Rachel Hair, takes Scotland’s oldest instrument to quirky new corners on her tantalizing triptych’s new album.
Entitled Tri (meaning “three” in Gaelic), Hair’s eardrum-baiting Trio have self-produced 11 tracks of raw, minimalist multiplicity. Complimented by Jenn Butterworth’s bright-as-buttons acoustic guitar and vocals, and Cameron Maxwell’s muscle-soothing double-bass, Hair’s non-conventional Harp style breathes new life into the ancient instrument.
Coal-miners, Royal Dukes, and Border Terriers are some of the characters we meet along the way. There’s a whistle-stop tour towards Norway, and while we discover Northern Ireland’s answer to Native Indian smoke signals, a celebration of a young harper’s life – cut cruelly short – demonstrates harp is where the heart is.