Martyn Bennett's Bothy Culture at Celtic Connections 2018
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Martyn Bennett's Bothy Culture at Celtic Connections 2018


The GRIT Orchestra is to perform the world premiere of the orchestration of Martyn Bennett’s Bothy Culture in a spectacular show at the SSE Hydro featuring Danny MacAskill as part of Celtic Connections 25th anniversary celebrations.

Celtic Connections, the leading festival of world, folk and roots music, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary from Thursday 14 January to Sunday 4 February 2018 with 300 events featuring more than 2,000 artists from across the world in venues throughout Glasgow.

A Celtic Connections commission, the orchestration by violinist and composer Greg Lawson of pioneering Scottish piper, fiddler and studio mixer Martyn Bennett’s second album Bothy Culture, will be performed by the GRIT Orchestra on Saturday 27 January in an epic production. The show will include a section featuring professional street trials rider Danny MacAskill.

The GRIT Orchestra was formed to perform an orchestration of Martyn Bennett’s final album, GRIT, commissioned for the Opening Concert of Celtic Connections 2015. Following this critically acclaimed sold-out show, GRIT went on to be performed at WOMAD and the Edinburgh International Festival in 2016. 

Danny MacAskill’s contribution is inspired by his short film The Ridge, in which he returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye for an action packed ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline, set to the soundtrack of Martyn’s Bennet Blackbird. The film has had more than 52 million views on YouTube.

A pioneering artist who paved the way for a whole new generation of bands when he broke into the music scene in the mid-1990s Martyn Bennett’s life was cut short at the age of just 33 after a long battle with cancer.

Tickets for the Grit Orchestra’s performance of Bothy Culture will go on sale on Thursday 31 August at 10am.

The full programme for Celtic Connections 2018 will be announced on Tuesday 24 October 2017.

For details and to buy tickets visit:

Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: “The emotive power and virtuosity of the GRIT Orchestra which electrified audiences at their incredible performances of GRIT will once again be harnessed for this world premiere reworking of Martyn Bennett’s Bothy Culture. 

“Since 2004, Celtic Connections has grown from a festival held at just one venue to presenting music across more than 25 stages throughout the city. 

“Our driving spirit remains the same – and it is a spirit which runs deep through the work of the GRIT Orchestra – to bring brilliant musicians together in new ways to share their artistry with one of the most enthusiastic audiences you can experience and create joyous, moving and inspiring music.”  

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Celtic Connections is one of the greatest music festivals in the world. Its home, Glasgow, one of the leading cities for live music, and the first city in the UK to be awarded the accolade of UNESCO City of Music.

“Celtic Connections has gone from strength to strength since it was first held – its reputation spreading throughout the world and attracting leading musicians to perform on festival stages. This achievement has played a major role in the wider success we now see throughout the city’s music sector, in live music, recording, and our music education offer.

“The connections made thanks to this brilliant festival, the many incredible achievements over a quarter of a century are to be celebrated. With the announcement of this exciting new concert by the amazing GRIT Orchestra, it is clear that the 25th edition of Celtic Connections will be unmissable for everyone who loves music, and loves Glasgow.”     

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said: “The original premiere of Grit was one of the most talked about gigs of the last decade and it’s fantastic to see the Grit Orchestra reforming in time for the 25th anniversary of Celtic Connections for this unique chance to experience the seminal album Bothy Culture live. Through this concert, The Grit Orchestra, whose members span genres including jazz, classical and trad music, will provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate the work and legacy of the iconic Martyn Bennett.” 

Greg Lawson, Conductor of the GRIT Orchestra and arranger of the new orchestration, said: “The GRIT Orchestra began as a glorious one-off. A dazzling bespoke way to celebrate the genius of Martyn Bennett, who changed the musical landscape forever.

“Over time it became compulsively clear that the GRIT Orchestra - this incredible mix of musicians, each superb in different styles and approaches to a shared love of making music – is such a special entity that it needed to continue. And so I embarked on this new venture, to adapt and perform with the Orchestra, Martyn’s Bothy Culture. 

“Though this will be our second project, the excitement, the at times sheer adrenaline of creating, rehearsing and then stepping out onto the stage to perform Bothy Culture at Celtic Connections will, I am sure, be as intense and life affirming an experience as before. It is a privilege and a joy to be doing this, as the GRIT Orchestra continues to grow and develop and be inspired to soon take our next step. To write our own music on a journey begun in the light of Martyn Bennett’s art, which burnt so bright.”

BJ Stewart from the Martyn Bennett Trust, said: “The seismic waves created by Martyn’s debut had reached out across and redefined the musical landscape, then he brought us Bothy Culture, which cemented his reputation not just as one of the most important musicians in a generation but also as an exceptional composer. To many of Martyn’s fans the album is also a personal favourite. It is an album of passion and exploration, crafted to celebrate life. 

“GRIT is the album which is often held up as Martyn’s greatest achievement. Bothy Culture stands as a work of brilliance, part of a legacy that nothing can steal away from us and will continue to be enjoyed and inspire. 

“I cannot wait to experience the GRIT Orchestra’s new work, orchestrated from Bothy Culture at Celtic Connections 2018. Their emergence with GRIT was rightly acclaimed as a triumph and it will be fascinating to see how they once again reshape Martyn’s music and take it in exciting new directions. It was music composed never to stand still and knowing and loving Martyn as we did, I know he would have been delighted.”               

Celtic Connections is supported by Glasgow City Council and Creative Scotland, and delivered by Glasgow Life.

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