Heritage folk group who set the work of the weaver poets to music

The work of the weaver poets and their contemporaries has been given new life by heritage folk group Ailsa, who perform the poems as folk songs. Thanks to Ailsa’s work, a memorial plaque to the poet and schoolmaster Samuel Turner has been unveiled in Ballyclare town hall.

Wilbert Garvin (uilleann pipes, Scottish lowland pipes, whistles) researches and unearths the works, including those of lesser known poets, and Barbara Gray (composition, keyboards, vocals) composes new music for them.

With other musicians, including vocalist Michael Sayers, they have recorded two albums of folk songs based on poems from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, many written in the local ‘braid Scots’ vernacular.

To accompany each CD, Wilbert Garvin has produced an illustrated and annotated booklet, containing the poems in full, with details of the poets.

The CDs and booklets for Ailsa’s albums Misty Burn and Sam M’Guffin’s Kitchen are available from (CD and booklet priced £15 plus postage and packing).

© Wilbert Garvin 2004