Hello to anyone out there who has been wondering where I have been hiding. Sorry about the length of time it has taken for me to resurface. I am grateful to those of you that may have taken time to check on this website and are interested in the music that is so much a life's passion for me. As some of you may already know I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November 2000. Unfortunately, after having gone through a year of chemo and radio-therapy the cancer has returned. In the beginning of January 2002 I underwent a major operation to remove my spleen which was found to have a tumour. This year will involve having a radical course of chemotherapy followed by stem-cell transplant.
This has been a year of enormous changes for every person living on this planet. In many ways the epoch-making events of September 11th 2001 were like a huge version of what Kirsten and I are going through. I would go so far as to say that perhaps terrorism and cancer are not so dissimilar. They both exist as a strange madness brought about by the starvation of love.
Many people who live with cancer have come to take it as a kind of spiritual test. Having been diagnosed with cancer three times now, it has forced me to reflect the need to make changes to my life. Unfortunately I'm a bit spiritually "hard-of-hearing" especially when it comes to listening to my inner voices. I do believe, however, that everything put across one's path has been put there to nurture you spiritually, and your job is to be open to change and listen to the guiding voice. The voice of that emissary can sometimes ask you to do some pretty brave U-turns.
I have also been working on my hardest, most beatiest project yet. Entitled GRIT, it features samples of various Scottish travellers (Romany gypsies) and Gaelic west coast singers that I knew personally, or grew up hearing at the folk festivals around Scotland in the 1980s.
Last year, whilst I was receiving treatment, I kept as active as I could and managed to finish a "gentle" album of songs in the Gaelic language. Entitled Glen Lyon and sung entirely by my mother Margaret Bennett, this song-cycle is an exploration of my own family's history as passed down from generations of aural tradition. It is a step away from most of my work and very unlike the "fusion world music" (whatever that means!) where many people have pigeon-holed me. I have also been working on my hardest, most beatiest project yet. Entitled GRIT, it features samples of various Scottish travellers (Romany gypsies) and Gaelic west coast singers that I knew personally, or grew up hearing at the folk festivals around Scotland in the 1980s. The samples are taken from original vinyl recordings, dating from the 1950s to the 1970s, recorded by the archives of Alan Lomax, School of Scottish Studies, and a few small Scottish labels. GRIT offers an alternative to those who think that traditional music is being spread thin amongst urban trendiness or to those of you who have noticed that "world-beat" music is just a load of arbitrary fantasy.
This next six months is going to be yet another testing time for Kirsten and I, however, we know that we will get through it and we also feel that health and happiness lie just around the corner. I don¹t know if I will physically be able to do the things I once did but I hope to continue with music. I also hope that these next two albums will generate enough interest that enables me to work in the future with some of the musicians I have always admired. I certainly don't think that I will continue as a one-man producer, composer, technician, performer etc as this has drained too much energy from me in the past. I think.