Festival Music

Martyn Bennett’s ‘Bothy Culture’

Edinburgh Playhouse

Lewis Church, four stars

MARTYN Bennett’s Bothy Culture is a dynamically charming contemporary music display that I believe perfectly encapsulates the flowing traditional excellence of the Celtic fusion musical landscape. The often hopeful, spirited atmosphere that exuded during the performance can be traced back to the turbulent cohesion of every member of the orchestra. Witnessing such a wonderful mixture of characters working in tandem towards a passionate blending of primal pagan sounds and upbeat energy evokes a true sustaining energy within the audience.

What I found to be an engaging approach to the performance was the orchestra’s ability to produce bright golden, uplifting pieces of music before fluidly transitioning into an eerie, culturally rooted piece like ‘Shputnik in Glenshiel’ that handles a lingering dark undertone and doesn’t necessarily invite you to like it immediately.

It’s the twinkling percussion, punctuated by adjoining moments of foreign sounds and the interwoven recital of poetry that wholly sets Bothy Culture apart in the best way possible. I frequently found myself totally calmed and hypnotised at the rising vigour of the instruments, emphasising to me the immense passion and emotive impact that has clearly been put towards this deeply rooted, loyal homage to Bennett and Scotland’s culture.

The strong, expressive vocalists supporting the articulation of the almost physically palpable natural symphonies of each and every member of the orchestra demonstrated the unmatched feeling of community and togetherness present made Bothy Culture a genuine experience of Celtic innovation.

Lewis Church is a pupil at Boroughmuir High School and this review was submitted as part of The Herald Young Critics Project with the Edinburgh International Festival.