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Tag: Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt – The Visit (1991/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – The Visit (1991/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 49:33 minutes | 1,04 GB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

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

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Loreena McKennitt – An Ancient Muse (2014/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – An Ancient Muse (2014/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 54:21 minutes | 1,11 GB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

An Ancient Muse is the seventh full-length studio album of the Canadian singer, songwriter, accordionist, harpist, and pianist, Loreena McKennitt. It was released on November 20, 2006 internationally, and November 21, 2006 in the United States and Canada. It was her first studio album after a 9-year gap. It has sold over a half a million copies worldwide since its release.

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Loreena McKennitt – Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:43:52 minutes | 1,99 GB | Genre: World, Celtic
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

A 2CD set featuring 20 songs performed at the storied London venue during Loreena McKennitt’s Lost Souls European tour. The set includes seven songs that have never been previously released on live recordings and six songs from the recent Lost Souls album. The Live At The Royal Albert Hall performance includes Loreena, her band and five special guest musicians, including renowned Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy and Daniel Casares, one of the top flamenco guitarists in the world, plus fellow Spaniard and nyckelharpa virtuoso Ana Alcaide.

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Loreena McKennitt – The Journey so Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt (Deluxe Edition) (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – The Journey so Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt (Deluxe Edition) (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:53:34 minutes | 2,28 GB | Genre: World
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

Loreena McKennitt’s music captures a unique space in modern times. Her Celtic-infused mystical folk music addresses both the deep history that comes with centuries-old ballads and a forward-thinking musical ambience. McKennitt has sold more than 14 million records in a career that has spanned 30 years, eight studio albums, two GRAMMY nominations, and two Juno Awards, and she’s garnered a devoted audience who greatly respect her craft. The album’s deluxe edition features the 12 favorites that also appear on the non-deluxe edition, but with nearly an hour of bonus live material recorded during her 2012 A Midsummer Night’s Tour of Europe in Mainz, Germany. Both editions include the single version of her Top 10 hit “The Mummers’ Dance” and edited versions of “Lady of Shalott” and “The Bonny Swans.” But the deluxe edition adds nine songs, including a gorgeous rendition of “The Star of the County Down,” among other favorites.

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Loreena McKennitt – To Drive the Cold Winter Away (1987/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – To Drive the Cold Winter Away (1987/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 45:29 minutes | 927 MB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

Loreena’s second, self-produced recording presents seasonal music with a fresh and serendipitous approach. This collection of traditional and lesser-known winter and Christmas carols was recorded in 1987 on location at The Church Of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, and, in Ireland, a Benedictine monastery and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

“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 … The arrangements are sparse, but somehow I felt that reflected the dynamics of the fall and winter seasons, and that there can be much beauty in such simplicity. As it is recorded on location, you may occasionally hear sounds of life continuing on around us. We hope these are not distracting, but rather are embraced like flecks of straw in the wool sweater your grandmother might have knitted to keep the cold winter away.”
– Loreena McKennitt

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Loreena McKennitt – The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2010/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2010/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/88,2kHz | Time – 45:08 minutes | 850 MB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

The Wind That Shakes the Barley is the ninth studio album by the Canadian singer, songwriter, accordionist, harpist, and pianist Loreena McKennitt, which was released on November 12, 2010.

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Loreena McKennitt – The Mask and Mirror (1994/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – The Mask and Mirror (1994/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 52:52 minutes | 1,00 GB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

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

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Loreena McKennitt – The Book of Secrets (1997/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – The Book of Secrets (1997/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 52:59 minutes | 1,09 GB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

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.

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Loreena McKennitt – Parallel Dreams (1989/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – Parallel Dreams (1989/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 43:30 minutes | 947 MB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

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

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Loreena McKennitt – Live in Paris and Toronto (2014/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – Live in Paris and Toronto (2014/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:38:54 minutes | 2,03 GB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

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

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