Rachel Newton, harpist, fiddler and singer extraordinaire, has just been nominated for 'Folk Musician of the Year' in the BBC Folk Awards 2017 - Congratulations Rachel!!! So in the final instalment of my series introducing the Coracle Band, we say both hello and goodbye to Rachel Newton, as this March Tour will be her last with The Coracle Band and The Emily Portman Trio. We'll miss her, and wish her all the best in this new chapter!  

Sophie Parkes interviewed Rachel, to find out more...

We're sorry to hear you're leaving The Coracle Band and the Emily Portman Trio. What's your fondest memory of working with Emily over the years?

Luckily I'm still going to be working with Emily and Lucy in The Furrow Collective, so there are lots of memories still to be made, but my favourite thing about working with Emily is hearing her sing and singing with her. Emily and Lucy are two of my favourite voices and as we've been singing together for so long, it just feels like home to sing with them. 

Emily tells us you've been working together for over ten years. Can you remember when you first met Emily?

It's all pretty hazy, but my main initial memories of Emily are of her performing with Jim Causley and Lauren McCormick as The Devil's Interval when we were all at Uni together. I had never heard anything like them before and was blown away by their harmonies and powerful sound. 

What will you miss most about playing with Emily and as part of her band?

Like I said, we'll still be working together, but I will miss working on Emily's own songs as her songwriting is really something special and I love hearing her talk about the songs on stage. There's always something new to learn about them. The Coracle band is a joy to hang out and play with as well so I'll miss that too! 

What has been your favourite song to arrange or play on?

It's hard to pick a favourite as I love all Emily's songs, but I'd say Brink of June is such a joy to play. I love the lyrics and the sentiment behind the song. 

What gig are you most looking forward to on the forthcoming tour?

They're all great venues and locations, but The Furrow Collective enjoyed Northwall in Oxford last year and Ludlow is in such a gorgeous area. I'm looking forward to it all really! It's such a fun group of people to spend time with.

Life on the road must throw up some unusual situations or funny scenarios. Can you think of something to amuse us when you've been on the road with Emily?

We have certainly spent a LOT of time together on the road over the years. There have been quite a few sleep-walking/talking incidences that have caused much hilarity and we've met a lot of interesting and unforgettable characters on our travels. Every day is an adventure!