Bennett's last work to be re-released
The late Martyn Bennett's final triumph, Grit, is to be re-released with bonus tracks as part of Peter Gabriel's Real World Records Gold series. Bennett, one of the most innovative musicians to come through the Scottish tradition, worked on this album while undergoing treatment for the cancer that was to claim him at the age of 33 in 2005, and created an emotional melange of traditional singers' voices, beats, samples and other electronica. The bonus tracks are Gabriel's Sky Blue, which Bennett remixed at Gabriel's request; and MacKay's Memoirs, Bennett's final recorded work, which he first created for pipes, clarsach, voice and orchestra to perform at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. The re-release coincides with the opening of Grit: The Martyn Bennett Story, which forms part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme at Tramway in June.
Student up for singing prize
A student from The Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland, 22-year-old Tyler Smith, has been named among the finalists in the Stephen Sondheim Society Performer of the Year Competition 2014. He is currently completing his Masters in Musical Theatre (Performance) at the RCS and will be competing against 11 other young singers from UK performing arts school at London's Garrick Theatre on May 18.
As well as being assessed on his own skills he will perform one of 12 new songs competing for the Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Prize. The awards will be presented by doyenne of the Sondheim song and patron of the society, Julia McKenzie.
The composer in whose name the contest was established says: "This competition allows students to demonstrate their skills in storytelling through song. Moreover, it allows the public to hear new writing voices as well as new singing ones. Good luck to the singers, and remember to honour the songwriters. Good luck to the songwriters, and remember to honour the singers."
Folk lined up for festival
Ross and Cromarty's Summer Isles Festival has announced the programme for its third year following two sell-out successes. Appearing in the festival's attractive setting in Achiltibuie on August 30 are the new electro/techno band Halcyon, featuring members of Treacherous Orchestra roots rockers Hunter & the Bear with local front man Will Irvine; folk band Rura; harpist-singer Rachel Newton; and the festival's founder, accordionist Mairearad Green, who will lead the ceilidh dance set. There will also be music and art workshops, cookery demonstrations and informal music sessions. Tickets are on sale now.