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]

Banner An Ancient Muse



  1. INCANTATION     (instrumental)
    music: Loreena McKennitt
    music and lyrics: Loreena McKennitt
    music and lyrics: Loreena McKennitt
    music: Loreena McKennitt
    lyrics: Sir Walter Scott
  5. KECHARITOMENE     (instrumental)
    music: Loreena McKennitt
    music and lyrics: Loreena McKennitt
  7. SACRED SHABBAT     (instrumental)
    music: Traditional, arranged by Loreena McKennitt
    music and lyrics: Loreena McKennitt
  9. NEVER-ENDING ROAD (Amhrán Duit)
    music and lyrics: Loreena McKennitt

An ancient muse - Quinlan Road, 2006 (QRCD109)

===> All lyrics on a single page (9.8 kb)

Goodies from the
official website

Wallpaper An Ancient Muse
wallpaper #1 @ 800x600
wallpaper #1 @ 1024x768
wallpaper #2 @ 1024x768

E-card An Ancient Muse
E-card #1
E-card #2
E-card #3


[cover tour programme] 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.



Sound and video files

Quinlan Road, Ltd. Sample sound files from the songs can be found here at the official website and some can also be heard via E-card #3.

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)

Caravanserai video 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.


Description of the CD

Loreena McKennitt
"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.


*) pae-an, pe-an = a joyeus song of praise, thanks or victory
    [Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1987]
Note: The official website also gives Loreena's Liner Notes, as printed in the CD-booklet.

Some comments

When I write this, I have heard the CD twice. The first time just listening to the music and singing, so to say, from a distance. And my first impression was that this is a good album! The second time I listened more closely to each song, reading also Loreena's notes in the CD-booklet. And my second impression confirmed the first one.

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 name
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
Loreena writes in the CD-booklet about what this sond should convey:
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".

<=== The Loreena McKennitt main page  /  CD index  /  lyrics index

or directly to one of her CDs or videos on these pages:

[CD: Elemental] [CD: To drive the cold winter away] [CD: Parallel dreams] [CD: The visit] [CD: The mask and mirror] [CD: The book of secrets] [CD: An ancient muse] [CD: The wind that shakes the barley] [CD: Lost souls] [CD: The road back home]
[CD: A winter garden] [CD: A midwinter night's dream] [CD: Under a winter's moon] [CD: Live in San Francisco] [CD: Live in Paris and Toronto] [CD: A Mediterranean Odyssey] [CD: Troubadours on the Rhine] [CD: The journey so far] [CD: Live at the Royal Albert Hall] [CD: The mask and mirror Live] [video: No journey's end] [video: Nights from the Alhambra] [video: A moveable musical feast]

<=== The main music and lyrics page

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created: 11 November 2006
last modified: 9 May 2024