Loreena McKennitt
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Quinlan Road

New and Views


Q: I am aware that many Wiccan and Pagan Communities use Loreena's music in their rituals and gatherings. What are Loreena's thoughts on this? (Charles)

A: Spirituality in its rich and varied manifestations has always been a fascination and an inspiration to me as an artist and as a member of the world community. In my research and travels, I have come across countless reminders that throughout history and across cultures, there have always been many paths to the divine, united by our deep human desire to connect with the realm of the holy. The ultimate message seems to me to be that in the world of the spiritual just as in the world of the temporal, there is more to bind us together than to tear us apart.

I am always tremendously flattered when people find something in my music that speaks to them on a creative and spiritual level, including, as you mention, members of the Wiccan and Pagan communities. I had a wonderful opportunity to learn more about these particular paths to spirituality in working with National Film Board of Canada filmmakers on the “Women And Spirituality” series of films and was pleased to make a musical contribution. - LM

Are you, yourself, the fan of a particular artist? Also, I suppose that you know the band “Dead Can Dance”? Are they part of your base influences? I find them influential above all in the area of percussion.

A: I had the pleasure some years ago to attend a performance by the band Dead Can Dance and was particularly struck by their ability to create a rich and mysterious atmosphere from so many divergent musical strands, and to bring those many traditions to a new audience.

One of the most wonderful things about my work as a musician has been the opportunity to travel and to learn about the musical traditions of many countries, and to expand my list of “favourite artists” geographically and culturally.

My best-loved artists are probably too many to list, but some perennial favourites include Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Alan Stivell, Muszikas, The St Petersburg Chamber Choir, Amalia Rodrigues, Planxty, The Bothy Band, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Mikis Theodorakis, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen – LM

Q: Is there a plan to release a Loreena McKennitt live DVD? Does Loreena sign autographs right before doing the soundcheck? Because I'd love to meet her and have her sign an autograph. I'd love to talk with her and exchange just a few words. ( Stéphane)

A: We presently have only one DVD for sale – No Journey’s End, which can be purchased via the Quinlan Road Shop and is also included in our limited-edition reissues series. I look forward to having an opportunity to create a live DVD, but this will only be undertaken after the recording of my next studio album and the touring that follows. Rest assured that we will keep you informed of our DVD endeavours via the Quinlan Road website.

I very much enjoy meeting fans at my concerts, but the logistical concerns of each show are different and it is not easy to give a hard and fast answer about when, or if, I will have the opportunity to meet members of the audience at a specific concert. There are many things I must do before and after a performance, which can often include press and radio interviews, band meetings, conversations with record companies and last-minute musical preparations. Additionally, on long travel days, we may arrive just before soundcheck.

Generally speaking, however, I am busy up until soundcheck, and then I try to go for a run, eat a light meal and use the dinner hour to reconnect with the touring party. For me, as for most artists, meeting fans and signing autographs generally happens after the show, where logistics permit. Sometimes, for security reasons, because of other commitments or because we need to depart after the show to travel on to the next city, it simply isn’t possible. But whenever we can do so, we do. - LM

Q: What kind of sports did you play in school? ( Kathy)

A: I was an enthusiastic athlete in school and enjoyed playing basketball, volleyball, baseball, football, street hockey and field hockey, and although my adult life leaves much less time for sports, I still manage to find time for a run whether I am at home on the farm or in a foreign city – as long as there is a park nearby! - LM

Q: My question concerns the instruments, particularly the percussion on the song “The Mystic's Dream”. Overall there is a very ambient sound from all of these instruments. I'm curious if all these sounds came from real objects, or if most of them were generated from some sort of computer software (fruityloops, battery, etc.)

I'm trying to reproduce similar sounds, and I'm hoping a program was used, because that would make my life easy: If they are real instruments, any chance I could get the names of any of them?(Jared)

Loreena’s musical colleague Brian Hughes writes:

The percussion instruments used on “The Mystic's Dream” are real instruments & real performances with the exception of one sound. For the most part the instruments are listed in the liner notes for “The Mask And Mirror”

They are as follows:

  • Dumbek or dumbeg: one of the primary drums used in Middle Eastern music. There are two tracks of dumbek on the recording. One is a two-bar loop of a basic part played by Loreena on a real dumbek and the other is a more ornamented track played by Rick Lazar that runs through the song and is not looped.
  • East Indian Tabla: one of the primary drums used in Indian music consisting of two drums the tabla (low) and the byan (high); again, these are real and not looped.
  • Castanets: most commonly used by flamenco dancers, played by Rick Lazar.
  • Croatales: similar to finger cymbals. They are making the bell-like sounds and were played by Rick Lazar.
  • Lo Drum Sample: This Lo Drum is not a loop but a one shot sample that occurs on the first beat of  every second bar.

If you would like to see what the instruments used on this track look like, you can go to the website www.larkinthemorning.com and type in each instrument separately in the search box (ie: dumbek, tabla, castanet....).

There are loop libraries available for these type of instruments, although not our performances. The website www.bigfishaudio.com  has several world music libraries available depending on what you are using for looping software.

A few titles you could check out are "Hadeeth Arabic Rhythms",  "Roots of India" and ProSessions Vol 28 "Tabla Science".

If you are using the program Reason there is a refill called "World Percussion" that has several of these samples as well. - BH