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World - Released November 1, 2019 | Quinlan Road Music Ltd.

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World - Released January 1, 2013 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

The Book of Secrets, the follow-up to 1994's The Mask and Mirror -- there was a Christmas EP, A Winter Garden, released in 1995) -- finds Loreena McKennitt in the same musical vein, mixing Celtic, Spanish, Italian, and new age to create her own distinct sound. The only problem is that she did not seem to progress much during the time between releases. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since she still knows how to write incredible melodies and layer instruments to produce peaceful images. "Night Ride Across the Caucasus" and "Dante's Prayer" are just two prime examples of this. And she continues her practice of setting classic poetry to music (Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman"). Expertly recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios, this CD serves as a travelog of sorts for McKennitt, musically detailing her travels during 1995 and 1996. She provides the musical and lyrical inspirations from each location she visited, utilizing the instruments and sounds she encountered on her travels. Although she may be referred to as the Canadian Enya, McKennitt is definitely her own person, producing music of beauty and warmth. © Aaron Badgley /TiVo
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World - Released August 21, 2007 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Nights from the Alhambra chronicles ethereal Canadian Celtic/folk/worldbeat artist Loreena McKennitt's 2006 tour in support of her Ancient Muse album. Recorded in September in the Palace of Charles V at the Alhambra, a southern Spanish fortress on the eastern border of the city of Granada built by the Moors, McKennitt employed a 12-piece band that included hurdy-gurdy, oud, uilleann pipes, kanoun, strings, and multiple percussion players. Though there is an emphasis on works from her most recent release, the singer/composer/harpist covers a wide breadth of material from 1985's Elemental ("She Moved Through the Fair") to 1991's acclaimed Visit ("All Souls Night," "Lady of Shalott") and beyond. As with all of her studio recordings, the sound quality is exquisite, making this -- her third live collection -- the best yet. [Nights from the Alhambra is also available with an accompanying DVD, which was filmed in HDTV and captures the night's performance in its entirety.] © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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World - Released May 4, 2018 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

The Canadian singer/songwriter's first full-length collection of original material since 2006's Ancient Muse, Lost Souls sees Loreena McKennitt delivering another richly detailed and alluringly cinematic set of worldbeat-infused, modern-folk pieces that hearken back to career-defining albums like The Visit, The Mask and Mirror, and The Book of Secrets. It's the latter LP that's echoed the most -- McKennitt states in the liner notes that a number of the songs were written around the time of The Visit -- with the elegant balladry of "Lost Souls" and the moving Canadian Forces Central Band and Stratford Concert Choir-assisted "Breaking of the Sword" invoking that album's emotional high point: Her lush musical rendering of the Alfred Tennyson poem "Lady of Shalott." Once again, McKennitt looks to poetry for inspiration, with W.B.Yeats and John Keats providing the narratives for "The Ballad of the Fox Hunter" and "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," respectively, while she cites the works of authors Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees) and Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress) as the motivation behind the evocative and ecologically minded "Ages Past, Ages Hence." While McKennitt continues to incorporate Galician and Middle Eastern themes into her work -- opener "Spanish Guitars & Night Plazas" builds to a lovely flamenco crescendo, and "Sun, Moon, & Stars" invokes the sights, sounds, and smells of a Moroccan bazaar -- the bulk of Lost Souls is spent wandering the English countryside. It makes sense, as McKennitt's early work was predominantly Celtic in nature, and despite a dizzying area of exotic instrumentation -- nyckelharpa, oud, kanoun, lyra, hurdy gurdy, etc. -- it's clear that the rolling hills and temperate moors of the United Kingdom, as well as the extensive vistas of her Canadian homeland, are where her heart resides. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2010 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Canadian singer/harpist Loreena McKennitt returns to her roots on The Wind That Shakes the Barley, making an album more in the traditional style of her 25-year-old debut, Elemental, than the more adult alternative hybrid efforts that have been more typical of her work since. Thus, the Celtic side of her music is emphasized in the inclusion of Scottish and Irish traditional songs like the title track, "The Star of the County Down," and "On a Bright May Morning." The last song prominently features her harp, as does the instrumental "Brian Boru's March," and she is accompanied by her usual backup musicians, including Ben Grossman (hurdy-gurdy), Brian Hughes (guitar), Caroline LaVelle (cello), and Hugh Marsh (violin). The chief attraction continues to be her haunting voice, which she employs to ethereal effect much of the time, although "The Star of the County Down" finds her taking a livelier, more direct approach, while in "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" her vocal is not so much ethereal as eerie. For many of McKennitt's fans, this will be an album they have been waiting to hear for a long time. For others, it may be a change of pace in which an artist reveals the sources of her individual style. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2014 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Canadian Celtic/new age/worldbeat architect Loreena McKennitt may be an odd choice for the legendary jazz label that released benchmark albums from Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, but Verve may have been moved by the undeniably talented harpist/composer/vocalist's large collection of globe-spanning gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales awards. McKennitt's records (this is her first set of new material since 1997's Book of Secrets) tend to play like independent soundtracks to National Geographic documentaries -- kind of like a more ornate, expensive version of Dead Can Dance. An Ancient Muse may break little new ground for McKennitt, but it won't disappoint longtime fans. Her fascination with Celtic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern instrumentation (hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, kanoun, uilleann pipes, bouzouki, lyra, and oud) and her preoccupation with mythology and poetry have won her great favor with the new age/adult alternative crowd, and rightly so, as Irish-tinged ballads such as "Never-Ending Road (Amhrán Duit)" and "Penelope's Song" are just Enya songs with more instruments than vocal tracks. Her penchant for quality instrumentals, in this case "Kecharitomene" and "Sacred Shabbat," sets her apart from the more stereotypical new age artists like David Arkenstone and John Tesh, and her extensive, diary-like liner notes invoke ancient archeological sites and obscure Rumi poetry without coming off as too self-absorbed. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary World Music Album. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released March 22, 1994 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Press play and enter the world of Loreena McKennitt, where walls dissolve into thick, billowing mists as the ground beneath your feet turns to compacted earth and the sky above opens up to reveal a black cloak dotted with shimmering stars draped beneath silk-like clouds. Were McKennitt's composing and songwriting abilities lacking of any luster (as they most certainly are not), her voice would still possess the strength to hold her fifth album, The Mask and Mirror, up on its own. But the combination of this talented woman's vocal prowess and songwriting ability makes her all the more similar to her work -- ethereal and almost unbelievable in its level of quality. A mythical menagerie, The Mask and Mirror contains songs that lift the veil to reveal the soul of McKennitt's work in eight dreamlike, Celtic-inspired tracks. The opening track, "The Mystic's Dream" (featured on the TNT movie The Mists of Avalon, based on the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley), is a haunting tune that features McKennitt at her most heavenly peak as a vocalist, evoking the spirits of the instruments and Gregorian chant-like background vocals that accompany her on the track. The album excels at conjuring up mythical visions in the listener's imagination, as with the gypsy-like tune "Marrakesh Night Market," which echos of the picturesque scene the title invokes. The soul-searching "Full Circle" best exhibits McKennitt's ability to transpose the true meaning of the lyrics into her songs. Even after the song ends, the somber mood lingers softly in the air. The balalaika (a three-stringed triangular-shaped instrument), the bouzouki (an eight-stringed instrument), and the hurdy-gurdy (a stringed instrument that also has keyboard and percussion parts) are among the rare, strange instruments introduced on many of the songs, including the lighthearted, uplifting "Ce He Mise Le Ulaingt? (The Two Trees)," on which these instruments demonstrate their incredible quality and prowess. The lyrics of this track are none other than the words of the poem of the same name by William Butler Yeats. McKennitt's unique use of the lyrical words of William Shakespeare, combined with her skillful adaptation of the words to the heavenly, undulating music, make the final track, "Prospero's Speech," an inspiration in itself. © Kerry L. Smith /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released September 27, 1991 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Loreena McKennitt's fourth release, and first for a major label, is a quietly majestic tapestry of worldbeat and Celtic pop that effortlessly weaves together traditional and contemporary songs into lush showcases for her fluid voice and harp. The multi-talented Canadian utilizes all of her strengths here, resulting in her most rewarding batch of tunes to date. With larger production values and more ambitious arrangements than the sparse Elemental and Parallel Dreams, her flair for the dramatic and the theatrical runs rampant throughout. Whether she's toasting the souls of the departed with Pagan glee on the delicious "All Souls Night," or reinterpreting King Henry VIII's "Greensleeves" through Tom Waits, it's never without both feet in the water. Often when artists attempt to blend modern instruments (keyboards, guitars, etc.) into the traditional folk idiom, the results are instantly dated and horribly overwrought. McKennitt, however, never allows the two to compete, and it's a testament to her belief in the songs themselves that they don't devolve into garish new age drivel. Her adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott," which utilizes an opening melody lifted -- probably unknowingly -- from the bagpipe solo at the end of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)," is The Visit's most powerful moment. Clocking in at 11 minutes, the poet's lovelorn tale of Camelot's most famous peasant maiden is rendered brief by McKennitt's breathless delivery and atmospheric and austere presentation. The Visit is Loreena McKennitt at her most comfortable, creative, and soulful. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2013 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Canadian singer/composer/harpist Loreena McKennitt's lush Celtic-infused balladry and worldbeat sensibilities lend themselves well to holiday music, a genre she toyed with in 1995 on her Winter Garden: Five Songs for the Season EP. Released in 2008, A Midwinter Night's Dream takes those five songs (newly remastered) "Coventry Carol," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "Good King Wenceslas," "Snow," and "Seeds of Love," and adds eight new songs (all of which were recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World recording studio) including "The Holly and the Ivy," "In the Bleak Midwinter," "Breton Carol," and "Emmanuel." The songs are immaculately produced as always, and McKennitt's predilection for Eastern mysticism and unique instrumentation keeps them from falling into the usual seasonal clichés. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released January 11, 1987 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Recorded in various halls and abbeys in Ireland, and completed in the Church of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, harpist/arranger/vocalist Loreena McKennitt's first foray into the crowded field of holiday music -- she would go on to release an EP called Winter Garden in 1995 -- is steeped in old-world atmosphere. To Drive the Cold Winter Away celebrates the winter solstice through eight traditional English, Scottish, and Irish carols and ballads and two Mckennitt originals. The artist's reverence for her source material is moving, and her meticulous yet simple arrangements help tracks such as "The Wexford Carol," "The Kings," and "Let Us the Infant Greet" resonate with all of the grace and piousness that the lyrics and poems strive for. McKennitt has succeeded in making a beautiful, haunting, and ambitious yuletide song cycle that despite taking itself a little too seriously, ranks among her finest. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 3, 1985 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Loreena McKennitt recorded her 1985 debut on a farm in southern Ontario, a pastoral setting that infuses every note on Elemental with atmosphere and rustic simplicity. What's immediately striking is the Canadian harpist's fully realized voice. Most artists take years to hone their pipes, and that McKennitt brings a nearly finished version to the table on her first outing is not only notable, it's revelatory. McKennitt presents an evenly distributed mix of new age and contemporary Celtic that evokes the work of Enya, Clannad, and Capercaille, adapting the words of Yeats ("Stolen Child") and Blake ("Lullaby") as effortlessly as she rearranges traditional folk songs like "The Blacksmith" or "Banks of Claudy." Elemental may not have the worldbeat scope or acrobatic arrangements inherent in her later works, but its epic balladry and relative sparseness offers an intriguing look at the artist at her most subtle. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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World - Released November 1, 2019 | Quinlan Road Music Ltd.

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World - Released October 20, 2009 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Booklet
Loreena McKennitt's A Mediterranean Odyssey collection includes an 11-track anthology of her more Mediterranean-influenced works entitled Olive and the Cedar, as well as a ten-track live performance recorded in 2009 called From Istanbul to Athens. McKennitt's transition from Celtic balladeer to worldbeat superstar began in the early '90s with the genre-hopping Visit. Her penchant for Mediterranean/Far East/Middle Eastern instrumentation came to fruition on 1994's Mask and Mirror and 1997's Book of Secrets, the latter of which spawned her biggest commercial hit with "The Mummer's Dance." The bulk of Olive and the Cedar is made up of material from those three albums. From Istanbul to Athens mines much of the same material, but draws more heavily from 2006's Ancient Muse. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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World - Released September 22, 1999 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Loreena McKennitt is in her element in front of an audience, telling interesting stories about the songs and assembling a topnotch backing band. This is her first live release available to the public, and uses material from three concerts (one from Paris and two from Toronto) to put together a complete show. As with The Book of Secrets tour, the first half is The Book of Secrets in its entirety, arranged in the same order as the studio CD. This material is covered on the first CD, and it has never sounded better. The live performance seems to breathe new life into the tracks and some songs, such as "Dante's Prayer" and "Skellig," sound better than the studio recordings. The second CD is more of an overview of her career, featuring songs from her back catalog. Again, the tracks seem to benefit when played in front of an audience; in particular, "The Lady of Shalott" and "All Souls Night" are brilliant. The musicianship on this live CD is excellent, and her band is very tight, as though they had been playing together for years. The sound of the CD is amazing; while maintaining the warmth of a live performance, McKennitt is still able to present a crisp, clean recording -- a remarkable feat. Also worth noting is the packaging, which includes notes by McKennitt, wonderful photos, and details of how the whole package was put together. This CD is ideal for fans and is actually a good place for newcomers to start. © Aaron Badgley /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2014 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

This Christmas EP (or, more accurately, "Winter Holiday" EP) features lushly produced folk renditions of seasonal traditionals and McKennitt originals. Like all of McKennitt's material, these songs gorgeously blend folk traditions from around the world (with an emphasis on the Irish and Scottish), seasoned with a sizable dose of literate universalist mysticism, and undistractingly garnished with a shimmering, glossy modern pop polish. © Darryl Cater /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2013 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Recorded at German radio station SWR1 during Loreena McKennitt's 2010 promotional tour for The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Troubadours on the Rhine: A Trio Performance captures the Canadian harpist/vocalist at her most intimate. Backed by Brian Hughes (guitar) and Caroline Lavelle (cello), McKennitt's hourlong set draws from her entire career, offering up key songs from The Wind That Shakes the Barley as well as longtime fan favorites like "Bonny Portmore" and the epic "Lady of Shalott," both of which appeared on her landmark 1991 LP, The Visit. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 22, 1989 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

Parallel Dreams, the Canadian harpist/songwriter's quietly moving sophomore release, finds the mystical red-haired siren in true balladeer form. By far McKennitt's most romantic venture -- the liner notes describe the project's central theme as a "yearning toward love, liberty and integration" -- Dreams is more ambitious than her sparse, impeccably recorded debut, Elemental, tripling the amount of players and laying the groundwork for the immense scope she would go on to attain on future recordings. The heartbreaking trio of "Standing Stones," "Annachnie Gordon," and "Dickens' Dublin" -- the latter features an effective radio-show sample of an unnamed Irish school child detailing the birth of Christ -- stand among the artist's finest works, and the range and clarity of her voice is undeniably powerful. Parallel Dreams was an emotional and career-turning point for McKennitt, as her next recording would be the major-label spectacle The Visit. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2014 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

World - Released December 14, 2018 | Loreena McKennitt P&D

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