Music Goddess Extraordinaire: Loreena McKennit

By Janet Ekstract

İZMİR (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Loreena McKennit certainly needs no introduction. A wildly, successful world music artist-composer who sold more than 14 million albums – not only possesses one of the most unique, vocal qualities of any singer but a spiritual humbleness and youthfulness that belıes her age.

McKennit was in Izmir last weekend, as part of her whirlwind tour and played to a packed amphitheater in Kultur Park. What makes her concerts in Turkey so special is the fact that McKennit said that certain Turkish cities were settled by the Celts. She mentioned Ankara as being one of those cities.
She is best known for her Celtic music style also accompanied by Middle Eastern tones, that has landed her in three music genres: Celtic, world and new age music.

McKennit, a Canadian with Scottish-Irish family roots, clearly has a penchant for sound and storytelling – especially all things Celtic. The year 1991 was pivotal for her because that was when she first discovered her interest in the Celtic at a huge Celtic exhibition in Venice. At that time, McKennit says she realized that Celts were as she put it: ”A vast collection of tribes that originated in Middle Europe as far back as 500 B.C. – later migrating across Europe’.

It was her books and research into the Celtic culture that prompted her creative impulse. As McKennit explains, it has always fascinated her and she made the decision to test out new songs based on her research of Celtic culture. She said her aim was to see if she could use some of the Celtic history as a catalyst for her new musical creations.

She likens her creativity in coming up with original ideas as similar to what some know as channeling. For one of her most prolific works – ‘The Book of Secrets’ – McKennit explained that she went to Tuscany armed with all types of books which she avidly pored over. then she explained,  as she drove through changing scenic countryside,, her inspiration began to flow and melodies would suddenly come to her, so she began recording them on her trip.

This world famous performer commented that she sees creativity as thinking outside the box as she remarked: ‘I believe ideas are to be sought out on any level. She added, I marvel at how ideas come from nothing. And, Mckennit says that every creative act is the pulling into being of an idea.
It’s not just McKennit’s storytelling that is her signature – it is most assuredly her sound. She said she takes sound with all its subtle nuances very seriously in order to achieve exactly what she wants the audience to hear. McKennit explained that it is a very detailed process that involves making sure that not only the microphones but the entire studio space is able to produce just the right tones for specific songs.

As this Celtic music whiz comments:’There are a lot of decisions that you can make along the way to enhance the fidelity.  To produce such a pure, angelic effervescent vocal all comes down to her space, McKennit said: ‘The human physiology is hardwired to hear more subtle sounds.’ McKennit added that every miniscule detail goes into creating the final production and that each minute detail in sound is just as important as the next in the creation of perfect harmony in instrumental as well as vocals.
Of course, McKennit has a group of wonderful musicians who accompany her and who also play a variety of instruments to achieve the sound for each track. McKennit is accomplished on Celtic harp, accordion and piano. As to who may have influenced her sound early on – she mentions Simon and Garfunkle for their folksy quality. The test of longevity in both theirs and McKennit’s music is truly timeless.

Loreena Mckenni’s music is clearly inspired and she says she titled her album ‘The Visit’ as a way of explaining how ideas flow through her. What’s extraordinary is that the music of Lorenna McKennit appeals to a broad audience worldwide because it touches the heart through her eclectic sound and spirit.

What’s more intriguing is that McKennit hadn’t produced a new album in 12 years and decided to include a compilation of 30 years of her musical work which came out in 2018, entitled, ‘Lost Souls.’

This magical performer’s creative input was fueled by Irish and Celtic history as well as mythology. She likes to say that most of her ideas originate from a place of need or curiosity. And, she adds that ‘for me, the creative process has become a peculiar kind of dance.’

McKennit is currently on a European tour of back to back concerts in more than 20 countries. In Turkey, she also gave a concert in Bodrum and expressed how delighted she was to be here once again after a decade away.

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