Martyn Bennett

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This article is about the musician. For the English footballer of the same name, see Martyn Bennett (footballer).
Martyn Bennett
Born (1971-02-17)17 February 1971
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Died 30 January 2005(2005-01-30) (aged 33)
Genres Celtic fusion
Instruments Great Highland Bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes, violin, piano
Years active 1995–2005
Labels Real World Records, Footstompin', Rykodisc
Website Official website

Martyn Bennett (17 February 1971 – 30 January 2005) was a Scottish musician who was influential in the evolution of modern Celtic fusion, a blending of traditional Celtic and modern music.

Early life[edit]

Bennett was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.[1][2] His family was from Scotland and Wales,[1] and spoke Gaelic.[3] His mother was Margaret Bennett, a singer and folklorist.[2] He grew up in Codroy Valley and Quebec.[1] He moved to Scotland at the age of six,[2] following the separation of his parents.[1] He grew up in Mull,[1] and then Kingussie, where he learned to play the Great Highland bagpipe as a child.[2] By the age of 12, he was winning national piping competitions.[1]


He attended the City of Edinburgh Music School, where he also learned piano and violin, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow,[1][2] where he met his wife, Kirsten.[1] He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1994, before his graduation.[1]


Bennett was influenced by the early 1990s dance music scene and regularly attended clubs.[1] He released his first album, Martyn Bennett, in 1995, after recording it in seven days.[1] The album had a "dramatic" impact on Scottish music.[1] After writing scores for stage and television, he went on tour to America, supporting Wolfstone.[1] He played at Hogmanay in 1995 and 1996.[1] He released Bothy Culture in 1997, followed by Hardland.[1] His piece, Mackay's Memoirs, was played at the opening of the new Scottish Parliament in July 1999.[2] Glen Lyon was released after his diagnosis with Hodgkin's lymphoma.[1] His final album, Grit, was recorded while he was ill, and he was unable to play his instruments.[2][3] The album has been "credited with starting the musical evolution of Celtic fusion".[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

Bennett died in January 2005, at the age of 33, from cancer.[4] He was honoured by the Celtic Connections in 2015.[4]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Obituary: Martyn Bennett". The Daily Telegraph. 2 February 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Remembering Martyn Bennett: The rebirth of Grit". BBC. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Steven Brocklehurst (15 January 2015). "Martyn Bennett: 'Fearless' music legacy lives on". BBC News. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Celtic Connections to honour pioneer Martyn Bennett". BBC. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 

External links[edit]