Martyn Bennett: Timeline

A LIST OF SOME OF MARTYN'S CONCERTS AND MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS

1995
Solo performances in La Belle Angele in Edinburgh and Celtic Connections in Glasgow lead to the door of Proclaimers manager Kenny MacDonald of Braw Music.

1996
Performance of Deoch an Dorus and Cuillin to a crowd of more than 50,000 at the first Edinburgh Hogmanay event organised by Unique Events and Martyn's career as 'Dread-locked Funkster' is kicked off.

Release Martyn Bennett on the independent label Eclectic Records. It receives great reviews with several full page features in national newspapers.

Invited to perform before Mel Gibson and a dance floor of stars at the world premiere party of the blockbuster film Braveheart held at Stirling Castle.

Small tour of France where Martyn supports Fun^da^mental at the Festival du Nante in Brittany.

1997
Interest from America secures a deal with Rykodisc and Martyn starts writing the next album.

1998
The album Bothy Culture is released to widespread acclaim and sell-out gigs throughout Scotland, England, Sweden, Canada and the US.

Having performed up till now as a solo artist working a live machine consisting of everything from sequencing, sampling and half a dozen acoustic instruments, Martyn finally has an opportunity to form a live project called Cuillin to tour Bothy Culture. It consists of Kirsten Bennett (samples, keys and backline), Deirdre Morrison (violin and vocals) and Rory Pierce (Irish pipes, flutes and percussion). Subsequently the album goes to No 1 on the American World College charts as Cuillin plays live in the United States and Canada.

Cuillin (pronounced Coolin) comes from the old Viking word 'kjölen' which denotes a high mountain range or keel of a boat. It is also the most spectacular and dangerous mountain range in Scotland, which lies on the west coast Island of Skye. It is probably Martyn's most favourite place.

Sean Connery leapt up on the stage dancing wildly with the band. Things grew increasingly surreal when fellow guests joined them, including Ewan MacGregor.

Sean Connery leapt up on the stage dancing wildly with the band.

Things grew increasingly surreal when fellow guests joined them, including Ewan MacGregor.

The event was to go down in Scottish folklore when in the midst of Cuillin's set Sean Connery leapt up on the stage dancing wildly with the band.

Cuillin perform at Paris' hottest nightspot The Buddha Bar before an assembled audience of actors, celebrities and sportsmen gathered in town for the opening match of the World Cup between Brazil and Scotland. The event was to go down in Scottish folklore when in the midst of Cuillin's set Sean Connery leapt up on the stage dancing wildly with the band. Things grew increasingly surreal when fellow guests joined them, including Ewan MacGregor (who kindly helped hold up Kirsten’s keyboards as the small stage became increasingly unsafe with the sheer volume of celebrities dancing on it), Jackie Stewart, Richard Wilson, Alex Salmond, Rory Bremner, Ally McCoist, Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish.
It was quite a sight to see James Bond getting it on with Renton from Trainspotting.

Voted winner of the music category for the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards by the Scottish readership of the newspapers The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

1999
Kirsten and Martyn relocate from Edinburgh to the Isle of Mull. There Martyn meets Martin Low where they start work together on an album of Scottish hardcore dance music.

A memorable summer trip to Canada sees the band play the Toronto Harbourfront. Halfway through the concert, a violent thunderstorm erupts over the stage. It is quite a scene as the audience dance in torrential rain and spectacular lightning. The band are finally forced to flee the stage as they are drenched in the final notes of the encore. Quite a gig!

Cuillin take their harder tunes out on the Glenfiddich-sponsored Distillery of Sound Tour to some great reactions, and shortly after mixing the album in December, Cuillin debut Hardland on New Years Eve to 10,000 people at The Esplanade, Edinburgh Castle and are beamed globally as part of BBC TV's national and international Millennium broadcast.

2000
Cuillin's first headline gig as part of Celtic Connections at the famous Barrowlands in Glasgow, to a mental packed house.

February, a special invitation to play King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow, as part of DF Concerts' 10th anniversary celebrations of the city's legendary venue. In March Cuillin play at another rather well known location, Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios in London, launching a new innovative PRS music charitable foundation.

Tours of Scandinavia, Germany and Spain to crowded venues. The highlight of the summer is a huge outdoor gig in Santiago de Compostella in Galicia. Kirsten and Martyn also take the opportunity to climb in the Picos de Europa - a most beautiful and spectacular mountain range in Asturias.

15,000 people take the place apart as Hardland play the Saturday night headline at Cambridge Festival. We are stunned by the reaction of the crowd and get some fantastic reviews of the gig. Martyn also takes this as an opportunity to officially release Hardland on his own label Cuillin and manages to shift 1,000 copies at the festival.

One last gig at the Edinburgh Festival lights up the Liquid Rooms to yet another crowded house and a final blast at King Tut's in Glasgow confirms that Hardland Live is a real tour de force. Cuillin plan an autumn tour, however unbeknown to us all, a black cloud is forming over our summer skies...

In October Martyn is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has to pull out of all future engagements. He starts a course of chemo and radio therapy that lasts 8 months and during this time Martyn sets up the studio to write GRIT.

2001
Further hospitalisation and major surgery. But from the ashes of his life Martyn feels a Pheonix is being born. Glen Lyon, an album featuring the voice of Margaret Bennett, is released on Foot Stompin’ Records.

2005 [view image]
On July 5th Martyn was awarded the degree of "Doctor of Music" (honoris causa) of the RSAMD. It was the first time that the Academic Board has conferred an honorary doctorate posthumously. It was sponsored by Brian McNeill and was collected on Martyn's behalf by Kirsten. Also on the same day, the composer James MacMillan was awarded a doctorate too.