When you’re Celtic/world music composer and performer, Loreena McKennitt, and you haven’t released new music in roughly 12 years, people are going to ask questions. With more than 14 albums sold, it’s not as if McKennitt didn’t have an audience ready and willing to hear new material.
Sometimes, though, life and business can move with the force of a bullet train, and take us a long way down the line. For McKennitt, this ride included the release of the 2006 album “An Ancient Music,” concert production, touring, and a trip to India in which she began work on a musical project that became “more complex and time consuming” than she had planned. Outside of music, McKennitt spent two years caring for her mother, before she passed away.
Photo by: Richard Haughton
“In the meantime, people were asking [if] I was ever going to release something original again?” Explained McKennitt during an interview with Zoomer Magazine’s Mike Crisolago. “[I said] ‘Well, I do have some of these songs in the cupboard that I’d written along the way that I like well enough, but they just didn’t fit in certain recordings.’”
McKennitt, who spoke with Crisolago ahead of an afternoon concert at the ZoomerPlex in Toronto’s Liberty Village, added: “So we looked at them and I said, ‘Why don’t we bring these forward?’
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What McKennitt brought forward was a collection of songs in which she’d put together over the course of three decades. The end result became her 2018 album, “Lost Souls.”
Considering that McKennitt’s selections for “Lost Souls” didn’t all come from one particular era or influence, Crisolago wondered how, or if, this project allowed her to be better view her creative maturation.
“I think being the artist, it’s always very difficult to be objective,” responded McKennitt. “When I think of [my 1985 debut album] ‘Elemental,’ which was some of the first effort of recording traditional material, it also reflected my engagement with theatre, particularly in Stratford … I see the poetry, the kind of theatrics or the influence of drama coming into the arrangements, the visual landscaping, being a large by-product of having been associated with the theatre as well as having worked a bit in film.”
She continued: “And I see that those inclinations have continued through the course of my career. Once I became acquainted with the Celts being all these tribes that had fanned out across Europe and into Asia Minor, I was able to broaden the palette of inspiration to Eastern and Middle Eastern influences. So this recording, in some ways, is kind of like a little sampling archive.”
-Main McKennitt Photo by: Gina Bucci
Watch Loreena McKennitt’s Live Performance at Zoomer Hall for the New Classical 96.3fm’s Concert Series