Grit: The Martyn Bennett Story

Gary West

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Martyn Bennett was many things to many people: dreadlocked technopiper, violin virtuoso, contemporary composer, modern minstrel, darling of the club dance floor, champion of folk culture, climber of hills. Born in Newfoundland in 1971, and taken by cancer just thirty-three years later, most of his short life was spent in Scotland creating music that continues to resonate loudly today. In this first full-length biography, Gary West explores the many threads of influence which came together in Martyn's life and work, from his early exposure to the great tradition bearers and folk musicians of Scotland through the work of his folklorist mother, to the strict conventions of the Highland piping tradition, and on to formal classical music training in Edinburgh and Glasgow. But it is what he did thereafter that sets him apart: with one foot stamping on the concrete pavements and club floors of the inner city, and the other firmly planted on the soils of Skye and Mull, he felt the grit, looked outwards, listened intently, and created something entirely new. The title of the biography, Grit, is taken from Martyn's final album (2003) - 'cancer is a piece of grit inside your soul which you can't get out . . . but grit is also rock salt, an old medicine'.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherBirlinn Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9781846975042
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020


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