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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
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: The Wind That Shakes The Barley

1. As I Roved Out

2. On A Bright May Morning

3. Brian Boru's March

4. Down By The Sally Gardens

5. The Star Of The County Down

6. The Wind That Shakes The Barley

7. The Death Of Queen Jane

8. The Emigration Tunes

9. The Parting Glass


Track List: An Ancient Muse

1. Incantation

2. The Gates Of Istanbul

3. Caravanserai

4. The English Ladye And The Knight

5. Kecharitomene

6. Penelope's Song

7. Sacred Shabbat

8. Beneath A Phrygian Sky

9. Never-Ending Road (Amhran Duit)


Track List: The Book Of Secrets

1. Prologue

2. The Mummer's Dance

3. Skellig

4. Marco Polo

6. La Serenissima

7. Night Ride Across The Caucasus

8. Dante's Prayer


Track List: The Mask And Mirror

1. The Mystic's Dream

2. The Bonny Swans

3. The Dark Night Of The Soul

4. Marrakesh Night Market

5. Full Circle

6. Santiago

7. Ce He Mise Le Ulaingt? / The Two Trees

8. Prospero's Speech


Track List: The Visit

1. All Souls Night

2. Bonny Portmore

3. Between The Shadows

4. The Lady Of Shalott

5. Greensleeves

6. Tango To Evora

7. Courtyard Lullaby

8. The Old Ways

9. Cymbeline


Track List: Parallel Dreams

1. Samain Night

2. Moon Cradle

3. Huron 'Beltane' Fire Dance

4. Annachie Gordon

5. Standing Stones

6. Dickens' Dublin (The Palace)

7. Breaking The Silence

8. Ancient Pines


Track List: Elemental

1. Blacksmith

2. She Moved Through The Fair

3. Stolen Child

4. The Lark In The Clear Air

5. Carrighfergus

6. Kellswater

7. Banks Of Claudy

8. Come By The Hills

9. Lullaby


Track List: A Winter Garden

1. Coventry Carol

2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

3. Good King Wenceslas

4. Snow

5. Seeds Of Love


Track List: From Istanbul To Athens

1. The Gates Of Istanbul

2. The Dark Night Of The Soul

3. Marco Polo

4. Penelope's Song

5. Sacred Shabbat

6. Caravanserai

7. Santiago

8. Beneath A Phrygian Sky

9. Tango To Evora

10. Full Circle


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There is a ghost in the machine.
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Stop leaving disgusting rants and calling everyone pedaphiles courage05 and you won't have to hide you silly troll lol.
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My profile is public again but most likely they won't be anything on it for long sorry but i'm not putting up with them any more. Thanks
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My apologies to my followers who can't view my profile that may want to, but the trolls were using my profile to rant after my every post, and since Pandora only cares about the bottom line giving the same answers to my complaint, this is the best way to slow them down. I might go public just long enough to post new ones, but not all my post will be liked by all. It depends how the day has been, or the month. And a course the song they're based on. Thanks.
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Raven is the only girl !
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Courage 05 I'm sad to see you have gone private. I enjoyed At least 90% of it anyway. As long as it was uplifting...

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I'm a huge fan! Own all of your albums! Seen you a couple of times when your in the bay area, this time was just this past March 19th at The Masonic Center in San Francisco. Outstanding performance like always! I end up crying at least on one of your songs, because they're soulful and breathtaking beautiful... it's like you pierce my soul. God Bless and safe travels!
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She's great! All Soul's Night, Mummer's Dance, Marco Polo, Mystic Dream, Prologue, on and on .. AND ..
She is one of the very few whose live performances are often as a good as her recorded songs!
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@courage05>> > p l e a s e stop leaving these twisted tirades under beautiful songs. No matter how badly you want your sick nonsense to pass for only lessens the music and depresses those of us patient enough to suffer though them.
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First heard Mystics Dream in a movie called The Mists of Avalon. It was awesome.
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Saw her last month in Tempe AZ. I got great tickets, it was worth every penny (she is playing in a trio, not the full-tilt orchestra).
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Just saw her in concert in Seattle, Not to be missed!
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She's great! All Soul's Night, Mummer's Dance, Marco Polo, Mystic Dream, Prologue, on and on .. AND ..
She is one of the very few whose live performances are often as a good as her recorded songs!
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I love your songs. Your voice is so graceful and sounds so peaceful.��. In 2 grade....... . . . Bella Shah��.
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Really...? Maybe it's just a matter of personal interpretati o n ...
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In the day, those behind curtains of forgotten thought. lye just on other side of regret and unrecognizab l e faults. laid to rest in lost winter's leave. as the season rolls over again to the dawn of next years hopeful glean. the old times fade away, while birth is given place. so new dreams can be seen without burdened of delay. before they too take leave, with following upon last, bestowed to comfort memories past. cherished by what must be cleaved. until parting from all things once believed.
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greg.hanson7 9
missed it, got funds scraped up on Friday late afternoon and seats gone except for 1 or 2 way back in the I cant see nuthin section. I sat there before. drank my ticket money in a bar and got a headache
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Just saw her live in Santa Barbara last nite incredible show.
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@Cheese Noodles - I hope you got to go! She's unfortunatel y nowhere near where I live. Seeing her live would be wondrous.
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Is loreena a wicken?
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I love her I seemed to be wondering moores
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Loreena is amazing. Really.
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greg.hanson7 9
She will be at a fancy venue in my town in just a week or two, want to scape up the funds, may never get this chance again, will go by myself if I must, live performance cant be missed
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Hauntingly beautiful! Puts me into another place, just so enchanting!
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Beautiful! Exquisite!
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No One Gets this...
My brothers .
We Died . We served!
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I relate 100 percent
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By and large the most exquisitely composed and performed music of its genre. McKennitt lends the true ear and musical prowess to each and every masterpiece, weaving timeless tales into songs that can, at one point, sweep one into happiness yet rend tears of sorrow at the next. Well worth more than just a listen, I recommend buying each and every piece into a collection one will never regret having.
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I 've never heard music so beautiful as this. Mesmerizing!
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I listen to a lot of music—I've seen Loreena live twice—few, if any, do music like this. Words cannot describe.
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One of the best artists in the world
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Haunting. (Look at my profile, especially Christian girls.)
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Raglan Road on Nights from the Alhambra brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it . She is wonderful.
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She's great! All Soul's Night, Mummer's Dance, Marco Polo, Mystic Dream, Prologue, on and on .. AND ..
She is one of the very few whose live performances are as a good as her recorded songs!
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Ghostly phantoms divided in two's; coalesce from depths of shaded moon. clinging so to thicken airs, the visions once accounted fair. for these seasons mired in such ancient finds; taking dare on unwary travelers, their nightly affairs when dusk arrives. awaiting those of so inquisitive eye; to befall without caution surprised encounters of an unearthly design. in quest for all things possible, delighted amid ancient shrines. before breaking across hidden skies; the hails of a new day do arise.
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The music was like I was in a dream. such beautiful music!������
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Calling us to remember....
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When I first heard the murmmur's dance, I bought all of her albums. She has a wonderful voice. Good to hear all day.
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greg.hanson7 9
my new place to go, wonderful - different - dreamlike - Loreena
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Upon the highest lay that witch only those whom Destiny gave chance for immortality to take everything if they risk any and all things to have remembrance by the steps on who's shoulders they stood. Getting there before loosing life in that persute and crossing this void into nonexistence
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Absolutely my all time favorite piece of music. Ever... Enchanting.. .
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Lowers my blood pressure 50 points
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I would love to see her live
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Such an enchantress
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She's even better live!
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Her Album Book of Secrets sent me to an spiritual journey beyond words... I have been a fan since.
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Love her music but then again I love celtic music
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Books of ancient design welcomes no peace to an enlighten mind printed by scribe only for privileged eye when archaic thoughts written in evil times lecture's secrets not meant to find of visions forever lost from display such truths denied sacred say in their day to tell forbidden tales as those unfortunate few who stumble upon blasphemous room vanish into the gates of hell never to speak of things hidden so well keeping those under veil saturated in sin as dust covers forgotten space within
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I love this it is so nice and colm��������
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How do you put it into word's? Michael
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