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Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt's literate and sometimes experimental focus on Celtic-tinged traditional and original material, coupled with her haunting harp playing, has made her Canada's national chanteuse and new age troubadour since she broke through to prominence in the mid-'80s. The daughter of a nurse mother and a livestock-trading father, McKennitt studied classical piano and voice and learned to dance in the highland style as a youngster. Her love of traditional music was strengthened in the folk clubs of Winnipeg, which she frequented during the brief period she studied veterinary science at the University of Manitoba. Relocating to Stratford, Ontario, she continued to sharpen her skills as a composer and performer. In 1981, she auditioned for a role in the city's Stratford Festival of Canada. Although she did not get the role, she remained inspired. After reading Diane Sward Rapaport's book How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording, she formed her own label, Quinlan Road.

After releasing two albums, a nine-song cassette, Elemental, in 1985, and a collection of Christmas tunes, To Drive the Cold Winter Away, in 1987, she had her first breakthrough with her 1989 album, Parallel Dreams. With the help of a network of small independent distributors, the album sold more than 40,000 copies within four months. Its success was surpassed by McKennitt's fourth album, The Visit. Distributed by Warner Canada, the album sold over 600,000 copies (six times platinum) in Canada and received a Juno Award, as did McKennitt's next recording, The Mask and Mirror, in 1994.

While her albums have featured soothing, ultra-melodic arrangements, McKennitt's lyrics have reflected her interests in the poetry of W.B. Yeats, William Blake, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Her music has been heard on the soundtracks of numerous plays and films. In 1989, she was commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada to compose the music for a film series, Woman and Spirituality. Her subsequent commissions include such films as Jade, Highlander III, and Disney's The Santa Clause, as well as TV shows including Northern Exposure, Due South, and EZ Streets.

In 1998, McKennitt scored her biggest hit with "The Mummers' Dance." She became a hit in America, which led to The Book of Secrets selling more than four million copies. Sadly, her world crumbled that July when her fiancé, Ronald Rees, died while on a sailing trip with his brother and a family friend in Georgian Bay. Everything stopped immediately in order for McKennitt to grieve. Rumors of her retirement also circulated. At the time of her fiancé's death, McKennitt was mixing a new album, Live in Paris and Toronto, at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios. Recorded in Salle Pleyel in Paris and Massey Hall in Toronto during spring 1998, the album was released in 1999. All profits from the album have gone to the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund, which McKennitt set up to finance water safety initiatives and education across Canada.

In the new millennium, McKennitt allowed herself some healing time. She didn't disappear from music altogether, however, and worked with a number of local and national charities. Her Spanish version of "Dante's Prayer" was featured in the Canadian/Venezuelan feature film A House with a View of the Sea in 2001. In 2002, she headlined a concert in Winnipeg for Queen Elizabeth, and in 2003 she received the Order of Canada. Two years later, McKennitt began work on her seventh studio album, Ancient Muse, which was released in 2006. Nights from the Alhambra, a live CD/DVD, arrived in 2007, followed by Midwinter Night's Dream, a collection of holiday music that included 1995's Winter Garden EP in its entirety, along with eight new recordings. A Mediterranean Odyssey was released in 2009; the two-disc set included Olive and the Cedar, an 11-song compilation of some of her best-loved Mediterranean pieces, along with From Istanbul to Athens, which was recorded live on her 2009 Mediterranean tour.

In 2010, McKennit returned with The Wind That Shakes the Barley, an album that found her revisiting the traditional Celtic style of her earlier work. In 2012, McKennit followed up that studio effort with the live and unplugged concert album Troubadours on the Rhine: A Trio Performance. Nights from the Alhambra, released early in 2014, was drawn from her 2006 tour in support of the Ancient Muse album. The two-disc The Journey So Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt, which surveyed her three-decade recording career, drew a dozen key songs from her eight studio albums and her single releases and collected them on the first disc, and added a second bonus disc that featured live performances recorded in Mainz, Germany during McKennitt's 2012 A Midsummer's Night tour. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I like that she sings Lady of Shallot. Anyone remember when Anne of green gables and her friends recite this?
the passions of twilights midnight all souls dance in trance and bring to light the dark of night to gailic sounds stiring all around passing the days jurney in sway by the winds play and every creatures phantom come to the fantazom lively singing the praise giving into haze and mistic gaze while imagined beings dare dreaming hold each other in soft somber to reach a greater state until the season is late and every whilm is forfield before the end date so lust & desire is saticefied by last day
I absolutely adore her voice.
Been.listeni n g to her for years just rediscovered her now.
Absolutely amazing artist
dafleeg
Love this track
Loreena is such a strong artist. Her voice has so much emotion, and for some of the songs it's easy to see why. Such a sad story.
LM is an incredible talent, but the musicians that support her are amazing, too. As she herself told the audience, during The Mask & Mirror tour, these guys are like a Ferrari behind me, idling..... I thought, what a tremendous compliment to your band mates. Well said.
I love Loreena's music. Blessed be!
just discovering your music for the first time! Thank you for your beautiful talents
Lorena, I adore your music so much..have been listening and collecting your music for years..would not be w/o it in my car
i would like too here alot more or all of her music i love it
beautiful voice full range excellant
i love it
it takes me away
I love it. It reminds me of traveling through foreign mountains, while passing several different cultural tribes. Basically, the music reminds me of the journey itself.
p40l4_918
O love it!!!
Awesomely Etherial Angelic Music to just listen and dream to, about Magical Fantastical places throughout time and space! LOVE IT!
Nice to rest good. Music
Truly amazing!
visions of times long a go in farriers music across the ancient celts river isles and green hills mistng in the ghost twilight as stars shine in eternal wonder and one truelly can believe in magic and a place of inchantment lorrana mckennitt has brought all these visions to life in her music
She truly brings wonder and fantasy back to such a dull cold world. A very very talented musician.
❤️
Few are the artists that I respect as highly as Loreena.
Her art touches my soul very deeply and profoundly. I remember the mists upon the heather, the mad rides across the steppes, and the loss of my love.... Thank you, Lady.
Love it
harleenharle e n
Transports one back in time and to far off lands ~
harleenharle e n
Truly enchanting and mystical ~ Loreena's mysterious musical expressions resonate within, deep into the depths of the soul. Her ethereal and timeless melodies sound like the secrets of the universe ॐ
Tá sí i gcónaí ceol scíthe iontach :)
She is the best relaxation out there this song has had me at first listen, and my kids even get it...}
chinita6891
Mesmerizing!
woodsnwater1
Perfection!
love it. can just get lost in the layers and textures.
Yea her songs are so fluid you can practice ti chi with them !
I Love Her Music, especially Dante's Prayer.
lecrowleyrn
Beautiful angelic
4ladyfox
This song sounds like she's had her soul torn out at the roots. Very haunting and raw. She has such talent and depth about her. Moves your soul to hear her.
Canyon colors? What's with the Male idiots comment? That's not very nice ... What's wrong with what was said? Or are you just pissed because no dudes will pet your kitty?
Animals
Loreena McKennitt is an artist who's body of work deserves a closer look. She is soooo very talented and her music has such depth. Just simply a beautiful soul, which her work reflects, one of my favorites.
F6
almanorma49
Loreena, a haunting voice with haunting lyrics.....
grouchytoday
I love the Lady of Shallot, it is a great rendition of Tennyson's epic poem. When Loreena sings, Heaven listens.
My tragedy came on June 14, 2003, my love went to be with God. Loreena's music haunts me with tender memories of my sweet lady.
The Highway Man is one of my favorites by her, I cry every time!
Unfortunate tragedy in her life has brought me closer to her because of a similar tragedy in mine.
The first Celtic song I ever heard was The Mummer's Dance . By Lorena. 1997 ish. Blew me away. Have been listening to all manner of Celtic since. Lorena has been my first and favorite.
salrorharvey
I love her. I have bought all her CD's
teallaker
Yep
bigmacdaddyo
teallaker - you enjoy only yourself. Percussion. graduate soon?
World without Male-idiots would be really great!
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