Media Release: Unemployed Govan shipbuilders celebrate release of urban folk music CD

A GROUP of unemployed people have produced what they believe to be Scotland’s first CD collection of contemporary urban folk songs.

The GalGael Trust in Govan, which offers training in traditional skills such as boat building and wood carving, has been running a music night for years.

Visitors are encouraged to express their experiences through songs, and the CD is a collection of just some of the songs people have written and performed.

Tam McGarvey, Progression Support officer at the GalGael Trust, explained: “We have been watching an amazing talent develop over the years and we decided it was time to share some of it.

“On these evenings people sing about their troubles, their inspirations and their journey here at the GalGael – they remind me of the early blues artists who were just tapping into their raw emotions.

“It is a snapshot of how people are feeling today in our sometimes shallow, consumer-led world.”

Most of the artists featured on the CD – called Birlinn after a traditional Scottish boat design – had never thought of singing a song, never mind writing and recording one, before.

The songs offer an insight into deeply personal experiences.

One track, Inside My Mind, explores bereavement and loss. Its creator, Joe Jones, an unemployed Govanite, said: “I lost someone and it was the greatest struggle I have faced. I fell apart and sank into grief and alcohol. Writing the song helped me to face my grief. And performing it has definitely been a part of the healing process.

“God knows what would have become of me if I hadn’t been thrown this lifeline at The GalGael.”

The songs on Birlinn, recorded by volunteers in the GalGael workshop, deal with aspects of life in a post-industrial city.

One track, Hold Fast, is named after the McLeod Clan motto that kept struggling communities together, and its creator, Gerry Hosgrove, found parallels between the hardships of life in the Scottish clans and the many in 21st century Govan.

Another song, The Lost, looks at personal choices and how they affect people’s pathways through life.

One song, Dreams, was donated to the collection by acoustic artists, Lorraine MacCaulay and the Borderlands, as a thank you to the GalGael for the use of their hand-built birlinn – now moored outside the Riverside Museum – during a recent video shoot on the Clyde.

Copies of Birlinn will be available for £10 at the official CD launch party with live performances at The GalGael on Thursday 15 September from 6pm.

It can also be purchased online at


For an interview or more information contact producer Jenny McCarry by phone at the GalGael Trust on 0141 427 3070 (office hours) or 07570848223 (out of hours); or by email

Notes to editors:

1. Reporters, producers, musicians and members of the public are warmly invited to attend the Birlinn launch party at The GalGael Trust, 15 Fairley Street, Ibrox on Thursday September 15 from 6pm onwards. Entry is free but donations will be gratefully received.

2. Samples of songs from of the CD Birlinn, and images of the GalGael activities, can be found at

3. Cover artwork by volunteer and sculptor Matthew Donnelly Packaging is made entirely of recycled paper and ink products, more here

4. Production costs were covered by volunteer donations and funds at the GalGael Trust. More information about the GalGael Trust can be found at

Andrea Pearson

managing director

Copytaker Ltd

The Pentagon Centre

36 Washington Street

Glasgow G3 8AZ

Telephone: 0141 241 6343


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