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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

x

Track List: Troubadours On The Rhine

1. Bonny Portmore

2. Down By The Sally Gardens

3. The Wind That Shakes The Barley

4. Between The Shadows

5. The Lady Of Shalott

6. Stolen Child

7. Penelope's Song

8. The Bonny Swans

9. The Parting Glass

x

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

x

Track List: Nights From The Alhambra

Disc 1

1. The Mystic's Dream (Live)

2. She Moved Through The Fair (Live)

3. Stolen Child (Live)

4. The Mummer's Dance (Live)

5. Penelope's Song (Live)

6. Marco Polo (Live)

7. The Bonny Swans (Live)

8. Dante's Prayer (Live)

9. Caravanserai (Live)

Disc 2

1. Bonny Portmore (Live)

2. Santiago (Live)

3. Raglan Road (Live)

4. All Souls Night (Live)

5. The Lady Of Shalott (Live)

6. The Old Ways (Live)

7. Never Ending Road (Amhran Duit) (Live)

8. Huron "Beltane" Fire Dance (Live)

9. Cymbeline (Live)

Disc 3
x

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

x

Track List: Live In Paris And Toronto

Disc 1

1. Prologue (Live)

2. The Mummers' Dance (Live)

3. Skellig (Live)

4. Marco Polo (Live)

5. The Highway Man (Live)

6. La Serenissima (Live)

7. Night Ride Across The Caucasus (Live)

8. Dante's Prayer (Live)

Disc 2

1. The Mystic's Dream (Live)

2. Santiago (Live)

3. Bonny Portmore (Live)

4. Between The Shadows (Persian Shadows) (Live)

5. The Lady Of Shalott (Live)

6. The Bonny Swans (Live)

7. The Old Ways (Live)

8. All Souls Night (Live)

9. Cymbeline (Live)

x

Track List: The Book Of Secrets

1. Prologue

2. The Mummers' Dance

3. Skellig

4. Marco Polo

5. The Highwayman

6. La Serenissima

7. Night Ride Across The Caucasus

8. Dante's Prayer

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

Track List: A Winter Garden

1. Coventry Carol

2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

3. Good King Wenceslas

4. Snow

5. Seeds Of Love

x

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

x

Track List: The Olive And The Cedar

1. The Mystic's Dream

6. Marrakesh Night Market

Comments

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Very beautiful... . I feel like I'm thrown into another realm.
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My wife and myself went and saw her live in Bend, OR in March...Let me tell ya, it was a struggle to find tickets for a reasonable price. Anyway, it was a very awesome venue at the Tower Theatre. But man, was she ever preachy!!! Love the music and please keep it about that Loreena!!!
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angel91886
EEEEEEEEEEEE E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
Report as inappropriate
Beautiful..m a g i c k a l
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angel91886
I LLLLLLLLLLLL L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V E E E E
Report as inappropriate
Her music really gets under the skin and lodges deep, doesn't it?
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beautiful music......
Report as inappropriate
angel91886
LLLLLLLLLLLL L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L
LLLLLLLLLLLL L L L L L O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
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Wow is all i can muster....!
And thank you too, of course...!
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Discovered her music about 8 years ago & have become a big fan!
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I've been listening to her since I was a sophomore in high school...bac k in 95'. She's soooo amazing!!
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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!
Report as inappropriate
Perfect dancing song
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Blessed Be
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I can't wait, she's coming to Kalamazoo in October of this year, bought tickets for my mom, my sister and I! I grew up on her music, every fall, we listened to The Book of Secrets!
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adam wade
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We need Loreena at Vancouver Folk Festival on Jericho Beach
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msg20026
Error about Nights from the Alhambra it was released August 2007 and not early 2014. The Journey So far compilation was early 2014.
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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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jqusaproud
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!
Report as inappropriate
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!
Report as inappropriate
First heard Mystics Dream in a movie called The Mists of Avalon. It was awesome.
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syntht
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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apraxic
Just saw her in concert in Seattle, Not to be missed!
Report as inappropriate
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!
Report as inappropriate
samcell05
I love your songs. Your voice is so graceful and sounds so peaceful.��. In 2 grade....... . . . Bella Shah��.
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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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joseph.rinck
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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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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anitare
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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dleeatkinson
Haunting. (Look at my profile, especially Christian girls.)
Report as inappropriate
Raglan Road on Nights from the Alhambra brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it . She is wonderful.
Report as inappropriate
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!
Report as inappropriate
katly4
The music was like I was in a dream. such beautiful music!������
Report as inappropriate
Calling us to remember....
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aortizvera
When I first heard the murmmur's dance, I bought all of her albums. She has a wonderful voice. Good to hear all day.
aortizvera
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my new place to go, wonderful - different - dreamlike - Loreena
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tegan.cross
Absolutely my all time favorite piece of music. Ever... Enchanting.. .
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