A new community project is set to launch free musical opportunities for young women and girls in South Lanarkshire.

The initiative, Girls Talk Girls Rock, will create fully-funded music-based groups, activities, and events for young women in the Blantyre and Cambuslang areas.

The project is currently in the process of securing some baseline funding, with hopes to get started by October.

Girls Talk Girls Rock has been created by Blantyre-based musician and music educator Marie Gallagher, 39, who aims to encourage girls, aged nine to 16, to get involved in music-making and songwriting.

Glasgow Times:

The project is focused on reaching girls who face barriers to getting involved in instrumental tuition due to financial reasons, mental health, social discrimination, or those with additional support needs, who lack opportunity.

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Marie told the Glasgow Times: "I want to facilitate at least three Girls Talk Girls Rock groups in Cambuslang and Blantyre where girls can have free music tuition, gain experience of songwriting and performing with others across a 10-week period.

“I’d love to make sure any of the girls involved can have the opportunity to have their music professionally recorded and have the chance to perform onstage.

“I intend that one of the first groups will be a fully-funded guitar group, and I’d love to buy a set of guitars so that the girls can keep these on completion of the group, as access to instruments is a real barrier, it’s not affordable for many families.

“I’d also like to use the money to run a pilot Girls Talk Girls Rock club in a local Blantyre or Cambuslang school. I’m currently applying to a range of funding organisations so that we can fully establish at least one school group and one community-based group within the next few months.”

Glasgow Times:

The decision to create this project came from Marie’s long-standing desire to inject the music industry with more diversity.

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She explained: “I don’t think anyone who knows me will be surprised that I’m putting my energy into something like this.

“I’ve always been hugely passionate about standing up for women’s empowerment and equality. I remember being very assertive about that, even in primary school!

She continued: “I teach children from six to 16-years-old, and I’ve noticed that the majority of students at primary age are girls but those still engaged with music tuition in later years are boys. This doesn’t add up. 

“I know through my own personal experience and years working in youth work and education, that girls experience sexism and misogyny from a very young age, pressure around body image, and bombardment with social media. For young women of colour, LGBTQ+ and disabilities, this inequality is amplified.”

Glasgow Times:

Thus, Marie’s vision is to “combine inclusive feminism, youth work and of course music to make sure we can provide a holistic experience".

She continued: “Musical activities can allow girls to express themselves without limits and it’s a way to bring girls together through a shared interest.

“I feel that in the music industry there are a lot of voices telling women what they should look like, act like, sound like, feel like, and if this generation of girls can feel confident, equipped and supported to take up space in the music industry, I think the whole industry will change for the better.”

Glasgow Times:

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Marie plans on putting her project in motion by teaming up with local musicians and organisations.

She said: “I really want to work with local musicians, youth clubs and schools to come up with creative and relevant ways to get girls involved.

“Local music school - Cambuslang School of Rock - have already agreed to be part of the project which I am really delighted about.

“There is also a growing movement of organisations empowering women in music, the arts and social activism more widely in Scotland and across the UK, and they’re doing amazing work.

“I’d love Girls Talk Girls Rock to become part of this wider movement too.”

For more information, contact Marie via Instagram.