Rachel Newton

Singer, harpist and composer

Rachel Newton draws on poems and ballads that are hundreds of years old, working them into her contemporary compositional style. In addition to her solo work, she is a collaborator and founder member of The Shee, The Furrow Collective and The Lost Words: Spell Songs. She has worked across various platforms including theatre and storytelling.

Rachel was awarded Instrumentalist of the Year 2016 at the Scots Trad Music Awards and Musician of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017. Her album Here’s My Heart Come Take It was shortlisted as one of Scotland’s top 10 outstanding albums in the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2017. She was awarded a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) for Best Music and Sound in 2009 for her work with the Rowantree Theatre Company.

Co-founder of The Bit Collective, a group focusing on equality and diversity in folk and traditional music, Rachel has organised various campaigns and events, including the Trad. Reclaimed: Women in Folk festival at Kings Place, London in 2019. November 2020 marked the release of her fifth solo album To The Awe, based particularly around women’s experience.

The Deanston

I wrote this tune for my local bakery. I moved to the area, buying my first home, around the same time they opened. Since I started working as a musician after leaving university, I’ve been on tour the majority of the time and never really had the opportunity to get to know my local community. Despite really missing gigs in this time, a silver lining for many musicians has been getting to know their local area better. For a lot of us this has been walks in the parks and I’m lucky as a city dweller to have many of those nearby. But it has also meant regular consumption of amazing produce from the Deanston Bakery, all in the name of supporting a local business! The tune has a circular feel to it in honour of their cinnamon swirls! They are pretty famous around Glasgow and there is always a queue right around the block on a Saturday morning.

Rachel Newton, February 2021