Aye: An Affirmation of Martyn Bennett
- Anna Millar
- 28 February 2008
Tuning up for tribute
Maverick Scottish musician set to be celebrated as part of Arts Council-sponsored tour
Martyn Bennett changed the face of Scottish music, marrying the high octane waves of the 90s dance scene with jazz beats, classical strings and his native Gaelic traditions. Now, the life and work of the performer and composer are set to be celebrated in suitably gallus style during this year’s Scottish Arts Council-sponsored Tune-Up tour, three years after his death at the age of 33. The maverick musician will be recognised in performances from Mr McFall’s Chamber, Tom Bancroft, Frasier Fifield and James Mackintosh, all of whom will perform pieces inspired by Bennett’s work.
Born in Canada but raised in the Highlands, Bennett famously picked up his first set of bagpipes at the age of ten. Lessons in composition, violin and piano followed. A promising stint at the RSAMD eventually led to backing from a small independent label and the foundations of a career that not only made Bennett famous but also helped change the perception of Scottish music around the world.
Mr McFall’s Chamber will perform a showcase of the late Bennett’s interpretation of Scottish folk music. The Chamber troupe will be joined by Scottish composer and multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield and percussionists Tom Bancroft and James Mackintosh. Leading jazz and soul artist Eska Mtungwazi will perform seven shows with her five-piece band.
Ian Smith, Head of Music at the Scottish Arts Council, said of the tour: ‘Martyn Bennett, while dying at a tragically young age, has left us with such an incredible legacy of great work, brilliantly encapsulated in his last album, Grit, for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. This tour, featuring McFall’s Chamber, not only celebrates Martyn’s life and creative genius but also takes that music to so many of Scotland’s communities, all of whom will identify with emotive and moving music performed by such fantastic musicians.’
Aye: An Affirmation of Martyn Bennett starts Tue 18 Mar at Perth Concert Hall and ends Sat 29 Mar in Findhorn. For full tour details of the complete Tune Up programme see www.tuneup.org.uk