"I was christened Martin by my parents, but the new spelling has
stuck with me since about 1986 when I was rechristened by Kevin Burke,
the top Irish fiddle player. There used to be a bistrot in Dublin called
The Onion Field, run by Donal Lunny's girlfriend at the time, where all
the musicians used to gather about midnight after their gigs. I found myself
one night sitting next to Kevin Burke, who I'd always admired since his
work with The Bothy Band. He took out his fiddle and played about three
feet away from me. I was gobsmacked and said something like, 'Kevin, I've
always been a fan, but to hear you this close is a rare privilege.'
"'Phwat's yer name?', came his rather hybrid accent (he's from Sligo/
"'Martin,' I told him, in my native Northern accent.
"'North Manchester!' he said.
"'That's amazing, how do you know that?'
"'Oi have an ear for dese tings. I shall call you Maart and you have
to spell it with two 'a's'.
So it stuck from then on. It still says Martin on my passport, but
I think of myself as Maart now."