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Martyn Bennett (February 17 1971January 30 2005) was a Scottish musician who was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. He was extremely influential in the evolution of modern Celtic fusion, a blending of traditional Celtic and modern music.

He began playing the Great Highland Bagpipes at the age of 10, and by the time he was 12 he was winning prizes at piping competitions in Scotland. He then took up violin, piano and composing at the age of 15 at the City of Edinburgh Music School, continuing his studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1990. He was a member of the traditional music and dance group Drumalban in his early years, along with his mother and many friends.

In 1993, just before graduating, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which he related to the suffocating and stressful environment of the classical world where "enjoyment of the music [...] was out-weighed by the pressure to succeed." [1] In 1994, he began to spend more time with his first musical love, folk and traditional, and it was not much later that he started to experiment with electronica. He performed at the world premiere party for the film Braveheart.

In 1996, he released his first self-titled album on Eclectic Records. In 1998 he released Bothy Culture, his most successful album. In 2000, just a few months after a highly acclaimed headlining set at the Cambridge Folk Festival, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

His last album, Grit, was recorded during his struggle with cancer and marks a drastic change in his sound since, according to notes posted on his website at the time, he became too weak to play his instruments and had to rely entirely on samples and synthesizers in order to keep creating music.

He died on January 30, 2005, following a long struggle with cancer. His composition, Mackay's Memoirs, was played at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 by the band of Broughton High School. The album Mackay's Memoirs featuring Martyn's compositions was recorded by Broughton High School the morning after his death in 2005, those involved only discovering about Martyn's death after they'd finished.


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