Loreena McKennitt - An ancient muse
Many years after the previous album - years in which she worked on many different projects - Loreena made a new album, released worldwide on 21 November 2006.
[Album page at the official Website]
Goodies from the
- You can order this CD or any of the other CDs from Loreena at the official website.
The 'An Ancient Muse' Tour 2007
After the release of the album, Loreena embarked on a tour through Europe and Northern America.
I have been to see and hear Loreena at her two concerts in Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp) in April 2007.
Prior to the tour, Loreena perfomed at the Alhambra in Spain and a DVD has been made of that concert: Nights from the Alhambra.
Note that Loreena made a year later the Live in Concert tour in 2008.
- An on-demand audio interview with Loreena McKennitt at Icebergradio.com could be found at IcebergRadio, but is now gone. .
- The official website provides the transcript of another interview, where Loreena addresses the background of recording, her inspiration, etc. Loreena's comments on the individual songs in this interview are reproduced here on the pages of the individual songs.
The song Caravanserai is apparently released as a single, or
at least part of the song.
You can hear it here via the official website (3.7MB)
See Loreena perform 'Caravanserai' live at the Alhambra:
exclusive video footage via the official website
This song is part of the DVD that has been made of the concert to accompany the tour: Nights from the Alhambra.
"Tell me, O Muse, of those who travelled far and wide ..."Aptly, it is an echo of Homer's timeless Odyssey that introduces Loreena McKennitts seventh studio recording, the latest volume of a project she describes as "musical travel writing". This time, the journey takes her in search of the Celts' easternmost paths, from the plains of Mongolia to the kingdom of King Midas and the Byzantine Empire. Along the way, she muses on the concepts of home, of travel in all its incarnations, of the cultural intermingling that underpins human history and our universal legacies of conflict and hope.
Recorded at Real World Studios and featuring a host of acclaimed musicians, the album proffers a treasure trove of instruments, from harp, hurdy-gurdy and accordion to oud, lyra, kanoun and nyckelharpa (the Scandinavian keyed fiddle). Highlights include the seductive rhythms and Silk Road influences of first single "Caravanserai"; "Penelopes Song", a paean* to steadfast love; and Loreenas musical setting of Sir Walter Scotts poem of star-crossed romance, "The English Ladye And The Knight". Together, the nine songs that comprise An Ancient Muse conjure up a wide worlds worth of human stories that are as unique as they are unforgettable.
© 2006, the official website Quinlan Road Ltd.
Of course, some songs are more to my liking than other songs -- a matter of taste. This is in particular the case for the combination of musical instruments used. The first two and the seventh songs, for example, sound a little too "wailing", because of certain string instruments, I think. The third song, Caravanserai, has a wonderful intro, followed by beautiful singing and music. But then later on in the song, it get a little "wailing" again, at least to my feeling.
The songs The English Ladye and the Knight and Penelope's Song are good songs, I think, with a good atmosphere, and nice to listen too. The last song, Never-ending Road, is a very nice and almost sweet song, with rather slow music Loreena singing lovingly -- which is fitting as the "universal theme is one of love, and in the never ending road of life and rebirth, surely this is the sentiment that must endure", as Loreena writes in the notes in the CD-booklet.
My very favourite of the album is song eight: Beneath A Phrygian Sky. This song has a wonderful melody, a very nice combination of musical instruments, and wonderful singing by Loreena. And this song has great lyrics too:
We travelled the wide oceans / Heard many call your nameLoreena writes in the CD-booklet about what this sond should convey:
With sword and gun and hatred / It all seemed much the same
Some used your name for glory / Some used it for their gain
Yet when liberty lay wanting / No lives were lost in vain
Perhaps it is a call to arms, flrthe love of ourselves as a species and the natural world with which we are interwoven. What can we learn from history, given all the opportunities we have to do so? Can we? Will we? I think of Edmund Burke's words: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."All in all I think that Loreena's "musical travel writing", as it is called in the description of the album above, can be called successful, in giving us a taste of "the concepts of home, of travel in all its incarnations, of the cultural intermingling that underpins human history".
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