A FORMER pupil of Hermitage Academy has spoken about how “forgotten people” were the inspiration to her hotly-anticipated debut feature album.

Ainsley Hamill, from Cardross, is one of the UK’s leading and most diverse singers, shortlisted for awards including the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and Gaelic Singer of the Year.

She represented Scotland at the 2019 Eurovision Choir Contest in Gothenburg, and has appeared at festivals all over the world both as a solo artist and as part of young Scottish folk group Barluath.

The singer-songwriter’s new album, “Not Just Ship Land”, which was released on Wednesday, is inspired by people who have come from Govan, on Glasgow’s south side.

It has already been chosen as The Guardian’s folk album of the month for March, and Ainsley recently spoke about the album, and the creative processes behind it, in an interview with Janice Forsyth on BBC Radio Scotland.

Ainsley, who studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland after leaving the Academy, told the Advertiser: “The whole album is written about forgotten people.

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“I was commissioned to write songs with orchestra about Govan, and panic set in when I was asked to do that. But then I met with the Govan Reminiscence Group, who are a bunch of extremely nice Govanites who spoke every Tuesday for a couple of hours.

“They gave me inspiration and information on incredible people from there who were incredibly humble but achieved incredible things, like becoming Olympic gold medallists and Antarctic explorers.

“There were really strong women from there who fought for the people. Overriding messages in the album are about equality and feminism and strong women, though there were incredibly amazing men who were part of it all as well - just humble people from normal backgrounds who achieved incredible things.”

Ainsley, who is now based in London, worked alongside BBC composer Malcolm Lindsay on the musical arrangements for the album, and is now collaborating with visual artist Ela Orleans to create a visual piece to accompany the album using archive footage from Govan.

Ainsley continued: “Hopefully in the not too distant future we can get some sort of live gig going with a film playing in the background.

“It really brings the characters to life.”

Not Just Ship Land is available for purchase at ainsleyhamill.bigcartel.com/product/not-just-ship-land.

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