One week ahead of the highly anticipated Bothy Culture & Beyond, the return of The GRIT Orchestra to Celtic Connections, The Martyn Bennett Trust has uncovered a promo video that was shot 20 years ago for Tongues of Kali, the opening track from Martyn’s second album, Bothy Culture.
The GRIT Orchestra first performed at the opening night of 2015’s Celtic Connections in an unforgettable live, orchestral recreation of Martyn Bennett’s final album, Grit. Violinist and composer Greg Lawson was a close friend of Martyn’s and had long dreamed of bringing his unique musical vision to the orchestral stage. He realised that ambition to mark 10th anniversary of Martyn’s untimely death, from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, at 33 years old; as a host of Scottish classical, jazz and traditional musicians joined forces in hugely successful commemoration that went on to wow crowds at WOMAD and the Edinburgh International Festival.
To help celebrate Celtic Connections’ 25th Anniversary this year, The Grit Orchestra and guests return to Glasgow on 27th January in a ‘music-vision-dance-bike spectacular’ that features a special appearance by global cycling sensation Danny MacAskill, whose spectacular short film, The Ridge, featured Martyn’s Blackbird as its soundtrack. Staged at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, the show will premiere Greg Lawson’s orchestration of Martyn Bennett’s second album Bothy Culture and will also feature aerial dance company, All or Nothing.
The video features Bothy Culture‘s opening track, Tongues of Kali, a track that epitomises the playful and eclectic nature of Martyn’s music, and one which Martyn himself described as “…a party tune with a pile of twaddle over the top”. Paying homage to the 1990’s club scene, it was filmed at the Arches in Glasgow in 1998 and directed by David Mackenzie. David was highly acclaimed for his 2016 film Hell or High Water and is currently working on Outlaw King; shot in Scotland over the past year and telling the story of Robert the Bruce.
Although he played all parts on his first two albums himself, when it came to touring with Bothy Culture, Martyn formed a band – Cuillin Music. Kirsten Thomson (Bennett), Deirdre MacLullich (Morrison) and Rory Pierce helped give Martyn’s live performances a more organic feel (previously he’d played along to a backing CD) and helped inject even more energy into those unique live performances.
Twenty years on Bothy Culture still sounds as fresh and exciting as it did on the day of its release. That excitement is about to be rekindled in spectacular style, at Celtic Connections 2018.