Always taking my breath away is New England-based lever harpist Rachel Clemente, her unrestrained joy conspicuous in every note she plays, as if a gift given freely.Alison Young, harpcolumn.com
- Rachel Clemente — Celtic harp
- Dan Houghton — bagpipe, flute & whistle
New England based pedal and traditional Scottish harpist, Rachel Clemente, has had a passion for music from the early age of five. She began her harp training as a student of the Suzuki method. Along the way, she discovered her love of Scottish music through events and competitions held by the Scottish Harp Society of America and the Ohio Scottish Arts School. Her musical education then continued at renowned arts boarding high school, Interlochen Arts Academy.
Rachel graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in traditional Scottish music. Her accolades include winner of U.S. National Scottish Harp Champion in 2016 and the winner of Princess Margaret of the Isles Clàrsach Competition (USA) in 2021.
Rachel is now New England, establishing herself as a soloist as well performing in her duo with bagpiper, Dan Houghton. She continues to enjoy working as a private harp instructor alongside beginning a journey into compositional work.
Dan Houghton is a gifted Scottish, traditional musician who plays Highland Bagpipes, smallpipes and borderpipes, flute, guitar and bouzouki, and he sings–though not all at the same time. He is the progeny of two Scottish Country Dance teachers – both of whom are also folkies – as a result of which he began his Scottish musical training several months before he inspired his first lungful of air. Since those far off, halcyon days he has come to have a profound impact on audiences throughout Britain, The Continent, North America and even the antipodes.
Dan started his bagpipe training as a competition piper and played with both the MacAlister College pipe band, studying under Andrew Hoag, and the City of Dunedin (New Zealand) pipe band, studying under Airdrie Stewart. Following his return to the northern hemisphere Dan took occasional lessons with Dougie Pincock and Ailean Domhnullach Mac a’ Whaler. More recently, he has taken tuition with Donald F. Lindsay.
Dan was a member of the band Blackthron for several years during his time in Dunedin. Whilst working on his graduate degree he was involved in the formation of the Scottish Power-Trad band, Cantrip (formerly known to MI5 as the Edinburgh Four), to which he retains his membership twenty some years on. Since Cantrip’s inception he has also worked with groups such as Salsa Celtica, Doolin and the Vermont, “Celtic” rock-folkers, Prydein. In more recent years has been a part of Pipers’ Den, with Hazen Metro and Tristan Henderson; Anxty, with Eric McDonald (sic.) and If You Must Know, with Rachel Clementé. Back in the days before social gatherings became potentially fatal biohazards, Dan devoted a fair amount of his energy and limited concentration to playing for Scottish Country Dancing with Parcel of Rogues, whose constituents include Sue Petrov and Calum Pasqua, as well as himself.