A FORMER Helensburgh school pupil returned to her roots with her band to record a video at the Mackintosh Club.
Ainsley Hamill, who went to Hermitage Academy, brought her fellow musicians from one of Scotland’s top up-and-coming folk music groups to the Sinclair Street premises, which reopened to the public last year after being bought by architects Nicola and Bruce Jamieson.
Ainsley, from Cardross, said: “The Mackintosh Club is a fabulous space. I still know Helensburgh really well, and I know Nicola too from previous performing experience.
“The history within the Mackintosh Club is just incredible and it made the space a natural choice for our new video.”
Ainsley, though not a native Gaelic speaker, has been closely involved in singing, dancing, performing and Gaelic culture from a young age.
Her love of Gaelic songs goes back to her membership of a Gaelic choir at Hermitage Academy, and was nurtured while studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
There she obtained a first class honours degree in Scottish music, with Gaelic song as her principal area of study, under the tuition of Kenna Campbell and Mairi MacInnes.
While at the Conservatoire, Ainsley met the four fellow students with whom she would go on to form Barluath – Alistair Iain Paterson (piano and keyboards), Edward Seaman (pipes, whistles and bouzouki), Eilidh Firth (fiddle) and Pablo Lafuente (guitar).
Ainsley added: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh was such a creative person, and the fact the Mackintosh Club was his first building makes it seem such an inspiring space.
“I want other people to know about it too. Nicola and Bruce have done it up so well and it’s an awesome creative space with outstanding acoustics.”
The band (whose name is pronounced Bar-lua, in case your Gaelic is a little rusty) has been recording and touring for six years now, and has produced two studio albums, Source and At Dawn Of Day, as well as releasing a number of singles.
A third studio album will follow soon, though the video at the Mackintosh Club is expected to be ready for release in the next few days.
Nicola said: “The Mackintosh Club was thrilled to have Barluath film. The video will be an opportunity for us to share this remarkable Charles Rennie Mackintosh building with the world.
“Helensburgh is so lucky to have such outstanding talent and we are privileged to accommodate all this budding creativity in our cultural hub of architecture, innovation and design.”
The ‘rediscovered’ Mackintosh Club – built in the 1890s as a home for the Helensburgh and Gareloch Conservative Association – hit the headlines in the summer after the Jamiesons’ purchase, and was chosen to host the closing event of the 2016 Mackintosh Festival, the annual celebration of the designer and his work.
The couple plan to complete restoration work on the property – new roof, gallery space and open-air roof terrace – in time for the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth, in June, 2018.
l A free fashion event takes place at the venue on March 23 from 1pm until 8pm, with the fashion show itself starting at 6pm.