One of my favorite, if not my favorite, artists is Loreena McKennitt. I loved her music the first time I heard it.  I remember that I was listening to music in bed late one night. I was wearing headphones because 1) I was supposed to already be asleep and 2) we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. I found her song, “The Mummers Dance” playing on some random radio station. I experienced an immediate visceral, almost spiritual reaction to the piece. 

I didn’t truly discover all she was about until a few years later, in college, but I consider her to be very influential in my appreciation and understanding of Celtic music beyond Lord of the Dance (although I love that too). I actually walked down the aisle at my wedding to “Come By The Hills”.

I received her first album, “Elemental”, for Christmas and it has gone to the top of my list of favorite albums. The sounds are very crisp, clean, acoustic, and simple. Her vocals are nothing less than perfect. The only ‘weak’ track is “Carrighfergus” on which she performs a duet with Cedric Smith. It actually served as a distraction from the overall sound and feel of the album instead of flavoring or enhancing it. I am as fixated on her voice as I am her musical arrangements, and I don’t need anything beyond that. My ears do not like the clutter a guest singer brings to her work.

This clip is a great rendition of  “Stolen Child”, one of my favorite tracks from the album. I don’t think the addition of the electric guitar was necessary but it doesn’t detract very much from the song.