Martyn Bennett’s GRIT live

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Celtic Connections opens this week with the live world première of Martyn Bennett’s final masterpiece GRIT, entitled ‘Nae Regrets – Martyn Bennett’s GRIT’.

GRIT, originally released in 2003 on Peter’s Real World Records label, is widely recognised as a towering landmark in contemporary Scottish music, and this year’s festival also coincides with the 10th anniversary of Bennett’s untimely passing. The performance – of this almost entirely studio-created album, reconstructed by violinist and composer Greg Lawson for a custom-designed orchestra of folk, jazz and classical players – extends his legacy triumphantly towards the future.

It has taken Greg Lawson, not only a notable musician in his own right but also a friend of Martyn Bennett’s, over a year to arrange the GRIT album for this performance, but the idea of doing something of this nature had been brewing since before Bennett’s untimely death. In a recent interview with The Scotsman newspaper he explained more about his motivation for being involved in the project:

“What happens with albums and iconic people is that you don’t interact with them any more. Martyn is like a beautiful mountain that people drive to the foot of and admire, but we don’t go up it. The result is that people don’t play his music. That was my overwhelming desire: I want to play this piece, I want people to hear this piece and I want it to be a live experience… I talked briefly with him (Martyn) about the idea of my writing his music for orchestra, and he intimated that he was pleased about that, but that I probably wouldn’t do as good a job as he would – to which I completely agreed!”

Read the full interview with Greg Lawson in The Scotsman

In addition to the article above you can watch an interview with Greg Lawson, where he talks about the process of orchestrating this new version of GRIT and his memories of Martyn Bennett.

“When you enter the landscape of Martyn Bennett’s mind,” Lawson concludes, “It’s amazing how many people you need to accomplish what he did by himself.”

Watch the full interview with Greg Lawson

More info on Celtic Connections

Discover more about the GRIT album