Loreena McKennitt’s An Ancient Muse has been nominated for Best Contemporary World Music Album. The GRAMMY is given in recognition of artistic achievement and excellence. It isn’t about popularity or album sales, but considering the sold-out concerts McKennitt still may have made the ballot.
For a decade, I’ve been whisked away by this bard’s magical and musical storytelling. So I was thrilled and delighted when after a nine year “break”, McKennitt released An Ancient Muse. Though happy for her, I was deeply disappointed when I didn’t get to see her Montreal concert because it sold out. Luckily, she returned a few months later for another sold out performance, but I was smarter and purchased my tickets early.
The concert was absolutely and breathtakingly amazing. In Quinlan Road’s newsletter, she says, “an Ancient Muse was a journey of musical travel writing, moving through the prism of Celtic history.” Adding to that, the performance was a two hour trip through her own musical journey, from 1985’s Elemental onward. The highlight of that already awesome evening was “the Mummer’s Dance”, a long time favorite that was my first introduction to McKennitt. Words don’t do the experience justice, but the audience’s energy while humming or singing along and the standing ovations afterwards do. We were extremely happy to welcome her back to Montreal (she first performed there in the early 80’s) and will be again when McKennitt and her fellow musicians return.
Her siren-like voice and all around musical talent aside, I like Loreena for her artistic integrity. She began Quinlan Road so she could put out the material she wants when she wants. Managers and companies wouldn’t take her seriously because of her gender and they didn’t think her music would sell. She’s not the type to toss out music left and right. It may be years before her next album is released, but it will assuredly be top-notch quality.
McKennitt admits she’s a control freak and that about 25% of her time is spent on music. The rest of her time is spent with administrative duties, from accounts to tour dates. She’s worked extremely hard to get to where she is. I’m really glad that her hard work is nominated for the prestigious GRAMMY. McKennitt and those involved with An Ancient Muse deserve the recognition.
Our paths may differ but our quests are shared: our desire to love and to be loved, our thirst for liberty and our need to be appreciated as unique individuals within the collectivity of our society. ~Loreena McKennitt