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Loreena McKennitt

The daughter of a nurse-mother and a livestock-trading father, songstress Loreena McKennitt studied classical piano and vocal training, 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. Distributed through 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 (Canada's equivalent to the Grammy), 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. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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?
canyoncolors
World without Male-idiots would be really great!
teallaker
Enya is still beter
teallaker
And I feel a beat
teallaker
I like percution
Got me's a proper soldier salutin' ... Like an Irish proper to raise a flag for salutation in me pants ...
canyoncolors
Elders of Niddle Mountains... a g r e e she is the One !
Very well done! This creates a musical landscape perfectly! Her notes are well supported she has proper intonation and she uses the right style. I can't believe this is live! Tres Bien!!!!
amandabarach
LOVE HER��
amandabarach
VERY peasful��
amandabarach
She is very good��
depaulo67
A silver throat-ed voice that will entrance with stories and tales you never heard.
A gifted artist. Among her many songs favorites are just too numerous.
fernandocorr e a 3 8
There is nothing like it... Her music will open doors in to your mind and heart.
I love the violin
I love this song!! It was in The Mist Of Avalon
She's one of the few artists out there whose work I will buy sight-unseen , and I've never been disappointed . Her songs are beautiful.
This style of music reminds me of old fashioned fairy tales and magical wonderful stories. A truly creative display of instrumental talent and uniqueness.
woodsnwater1
Remarkable woman, incredibly gifted artist, she speaks to my soul...
Such a soft song
Like no other I can feel this. Loving it so much
I think Loreena McKennitt fits the traditional role of the female Bard of old. She sings of the goddess and of love of many things and of mystery which is what the Bards of ancient Welsh sang of. She is a beauty and her music is phenomenal!
My heart is misunderstoo d by many, withdrawn from people and closed off to things I am afraid will hurt me. I don't know ever how to explain feelings, but when I listen to Loreena's music I feel like there must be at least one person who could understand me...
This song in hearing from her now sounds really good and smooth
This lady can teach angels to sing.
A Musical Goddess.
ninapuppydog
great music
kathleenfior i t o
Love, Love, Love her music! I had been looking for a type of music that spoke to me, for such a long time and when I discovered her's over a decade ago, I haven't had to look since...so sorry for her loss.
lol no
Good things come from Canada.
<3 Loreena
Gorgeous voice.
woodsnwater1
Remarkably, wonderfully talented composer and performer. ..beautiful, enchanting Celtic songstress!
Incomparably beautiful
Saw her and her band twice after the Mask and Mirror came out; once at the Keswick and the other at the TLA, in Philly. Both shows were soaringly magnificent. Those sounds are still reverberatin g through the cosmos, and me.
mark.william s e n 6 7
Excellent love voice
Love this poem its so sad:'(
jddickens17
She is really the best.
I enjoy the strength and clarity of this artist's voice as it is woven with the melodious rhythm of the music. A soothing combination that stirs emotion within my soul.
iloveidaho20 0 4
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Post this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come up on the screen. This is so scary because it actually works. F6
lochravens13
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Post this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come up on the screen. This is so scary because it actually works. F6
woodsnwater1
Remarkably talented composer, performer... k e e n intellect... beautiful enchantress!
lpjewels6
I don't know why, but her music makes me feel closer to nature and more spiritual.
To me, Loreena is simplily the best.
I can feel my spirit tapping when i hear her music
My soul, ears, body is at peace when hearing this Angel sing.
Say your name 10x
Say your mom's name 5x
Say your crushes name 3x
Post this on 4 other songs and your crush will ask you out
Show more

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