Peter Gabriel: Martyn

Peter Gabriel: Martyn


Talking to Peter Gabriel one is struck by how he is as much into technology as music, and deeply involved in the political implications of both. You can see why Gabriel brought out the late Martyn Bennett's powerful roots-electronic album Grit on his label, Real World, and why he's excited that his connection with Bennett's 'Brave New Music' has led to Real World's first Scottish showcase, at Celtic Connections next week.

"At it's heart it's a Martyn Bennett tribute" he says of the show. "Even when Martyn was ill he had this remarkably philosophical approach to a permanent state of crisis, and, underneath it all, always this sharp mind. He was an enormously gifted, soulful, passionate, generous musician, so we are bringing up a wide variety of artists to celebrate that."

"We are all very upset to learn of Martyn's death. It has been such a delight for us to work with him over the last 4 years. He was mixing traditional Scottish music with contemporary grooves and arrangements in a very unique and soulful way. He will be badly missed as a creator, player and inspiring man."
Peter Gabriel
31 January 2005 at 1:28pm

To understand Gabriel, the Real World studios label and the "recording weeks", one has to understand their mutual link with WOMAD. In 1982 Gabriel helped found WOMAD, and he and Genesis - the band he had formed many years earlier but left in the 1970s - bailed them out with a concert benefit following huge losses. While not directly involved after the first year, he's been in the background ever since.

The Real World Studios were built in 1986, while the Real World label, founded in 1989, has always been associated with WOMAD artists. The recording weeks were Gabriel's brainwave, as he saw how musicians met backstage at WOMAD but had no space or time to really explore musical ideas.

Bennett died in 2005 at just 33, after a prolonged battle against aggressive cancer. He was an acclaimed virtuoso on pipes and fiddle, a self styled 'Dreadlocked Funkster' who created hardcore dance music as well as composing for symphony orchestra and string quartet. Gabriel sees Bennett's vision of tradition and experimentation walking hand-in-hand as a Real World trademark.

Extract from: Jan Fairley interview, The Scotsman, Critique supplement, 27th Jan 2007

"In different ways Daby Touré and Sevara [Nazarkhan] share things with Martyn," he says of the two performers appearing at the showcase. "Sevara shares Martyn's bold approach. She also has Martyn's sense of mischief. Daby is stripping back, simplifying and purifying his approach like Martyn did."

The Celtic Connections Real World showcase took place at the Old Fruit Market, Glasgow on 31st Jan 2007.

Additional Related information

Peter Gabriel - More Than This
Released : December 2002

More Than ThisThe first DVD single from Peter Gabriel's UP album. Features the album mix of More Than This, the Martyn Bennett remix of Sky Blue, the video to The Barry Williams show and a photo gallery or tour photographs taken by Armando Gallo, Arnold Newman, York Tillyer and Graham Wood.

Movie Clips [QuickTime]
Peter Gabriel introduces Martyn Bennett live.

Brighton Centre 2003

Long Way Down - Various Artists
Released : November 2007

Real World Region: Africa, North America, South America, Asia 1, Asia 2, Oceania, Caribbean, Europe, Indian Subcontinent

Long Way DownAfter circumnavigating the world the 'Long Way Round', Ewan and Charley couldn't wait for their next great biking journey and their second trip of a lifetime. 'Long Way Down' was conceived as an adventure and as an eye-opening experience on an amazing continent: Africa. With Ewan and Charley on motorcycles it was always going to be a tough challenge. The trip brought them into contact with amazing geography, climate, cultures, beliefs and, of course, people.

Ewan and Charley were able to camp in African villages and experience the local way of life, and the sounds and the rhythm of each country became an integral part of the trip. On returning to London the television show was produced using many of these sounds, and was also significantly enhanced by the amazing work of musicians who have worked closely with Peter Gabriel to make recordings totally in tune with not only the boys' own motorcycle adventure, but the countries and the continents through which they passed.

Music unquestionably enhances the enjoyment of life and, through the careful selection of tracks, this CD conjures up a lot of the emotions felt by the team on the 'Long Way Down' adventure.

"At Real World, we were excited at the prospect of working on Long Way Down with Ewan and Charley. We had all really enjoyed Long Way Round. When they drew their new route out on the map, we were sure they were going to have an extraordinary adventure. Their route duly passed through a lot of places with which we had musical links. Africa is often portrayed as a problem, a continent in crisis. But in this film, in this music and most importantly in these people, you will also see and hear the real Africa that has been an incredible inspiration to me, Ewan and Charlie. Any project that can link Martyn Bennett, Abdelli, Sasha and BT, Hukwe Zawose and Maryam Mursaal is alright by me."
Peter Gabriel