Loreena McKennitt (Morden, 1957) has often been called a goddess of Harmony for her beautifull voice (lyrical singing with the Celtic technique of the “old style” Sean-nós) combined with the charming amber-haired figure.
A clever multi-instrumentalist (piano, Celtic harp, dulcimer, accordion) and composer, as well as a tenacious supporter of her musical project defined by herself as “eclectic Celtism“.
Her activity as a musician began in the corners of the Canadian streets where she played and sang the traditional Irish music with her harp and she self-produced her CD: Elemental, Parallel Dreams and The visit are essential musical projects, practically filmed live; the breakthrough comes with “The Mask and the Mirror” (1994), a concept album immersed in world music along the path of Santiago that welds the spirituality (and music-prayer) of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Loreena usually picks some musicians proficient in instruments related to each album to record with, but her core members are: guitarist Brian Hughes & percussionist Rick Lazar (both 1989), and violinist Hugh Marsh (1991). Cellist Caroline Lavelle & keyboardist/percussionist Donald Quan joined in 1995.
The debut album of the Canadian singer (Irish father and Scottish mother) when she was still playing on the street with her celtic harp and the offer box, it was recorded in a Stratford barn with almost all of the traditional Irish songs.
She Moved Through the Fair
Banks of Claudy
Come by the Hills
To Drive the Cold Winter Away 1987
The album consists of winter and Christmas songs, recorded in part at Annaghmakerrig, in County Monaghan (Ireland), in the Benedictine Abbey of Glenstal in Limerick (Ireland) and in the Church of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, in Canada. Essential and sparse it is centered on the angelic vocalism of the artist, so the author writes in the notese “As a child my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols recorded in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition. In that spirit, I have ventured into several similar locations that I have come to cherish in my travels.”
In Praise of Christmas
The king (Hunting the Wren)
Snow ( lyric by Archibald Lampman)
Let Us the Infant Greet
The Wexford Carol
The Stockford Carol
Let all that are to Mirth Inclined
Parallel Dreams 1989
Huron ‘Beltane’ Fire Dance (live at Alhambra ): as implied by its title, the “Huron Beltane Fire Dance” starts off as a very tribal, Native American-sounding chant, then shifts into a Celtic-Irish string piece
Dickens’ Dublin (The Palace)
Breaking the Silence
The visit 1991
“I have long considered the creative impulse to be a visit – a thing of grace, perhaps, not commanded or owned so much as awaited, prepared for. A thing, also, of mystery. This recording endeavours to explore some of that mystery.
It looks as well into the earlier eastern influences of the Celts and the likelihood that they started from as far away as Eastern Europe before being driven to the western margins of Europe, particularly in the British Isles. With their musical influences came rituals around birth and death which treated the land as holy and haunted; this life itself as a visit. Afterwards, one’s soul might move to another plane, or another form – perhaps a tree. The Celts knew then, as we are re-learning now, a deep respect for all the life around them. This recording aspires to be nothing as much as a reflection into the weave of these things.” – L.M. (from here)
live from San Francisco 1995 and also in “Troubadours On The Rhine”
The Lady of Shalott
Tango to Evora: Loreena wrote the music on commission, for the soundtrack of the documentary “The Burning Times” by the Canadian director Donna Read, on witchcraft and the bonfires ( (a feminist re-interpretation of the witchcraft trials). A few years later Haris Alexiou writes a text that is a small fairy tale wrapped in the Greek myth and titled “Nefelis Tango”
The Mask and Mirror 1994
Loreena McKennitt reads the book of Idries Shah “The Sufi” (1964) and composes an album “The Mask and Mirror” (1994) in which she asks herself about spirituality and religion: “… Who was God? And what is religion, spirituality? What was revealed and what was hidden … what was the mask and what was the mirror? ”
And she does so by exploring mysticism, the violent, sudden, irruption of God in the soul.
A Winter Garden – Five Songs for the Season 1995-2008
with Christmas music
The Book of Secrets 1997
It is the cd that decrees the worldwide success of Loreena and leads her to face a world tour in spring 1998; in the summer of that year, near the wedding, the fiancé drowns during a boat crossing in Lake Huron, to his memory the artist dedicates the double “Live in Paris and Toronto” (1999): a magnificent live, sublime, a perfect performances and a wealth of sounds, a magical fusion between the expressiveness of each individual musician, with little gems of pure beauty in the note-for-note.
Seven years of silence followed (with the exception of the collaboration with the Chieftains for the track YOU RAMBLING BOYS OF PLEASURE in Tears of Stone 1999) and of travels for the Mediterranean between 2000 and 2005, in particular Greece. A wanderer who wins the nickname of Irish gypsy
An Ancient Muse 2006
Some of the songs on this album were premiered at the Alhambra in Granada (Spain) on the dates 14, 15 and 16 September 2006 to inaugurate the return to the artist’s stage; of the concerts was released a memorable live album entitled “Nights from the Alhambra”.
The publication of the album An Ancient Muse was followed by a tour (in 2007)
The Gates of Istanbul
The English Ladye and the Knight ( lyric by Sir Walter Scott)
Sacred Shabbat traditional tune of the Balkans
live version from “A Mediterranean Odyssey” her Mediterranean Tour in summer 2009
Beneath A Phrygian Sky
Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit)
Nights from Alhambra 2007 ( full album)
The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2010
collection of traditional Irish songs rearranged by the artist
As I Roved Out
On a Bright May Morning
Brian Boru’s March
Down by the Sally Gardens
The Star of the County Down
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Death of Queen Jane
The Emigration Tunes
The Parting Glass
Lost Souls 2018
Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas
A Hundred Wishes
Ages Past, Ages Hence
The Ballad of the Fox Hunter ( lyric by William Butler Yeats)
La Belle Dame Sans Merci ( lyric by John Keats )
Sun, Moon and Stars
Breaking of the Sword