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An Ancient Muse CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, 20 Nov 2006
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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Nov. 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Quinlan Road
  • ASIN: B000ICLGNU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Audio Cassette |  Vinyl |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,027 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

Produced by the Canadian singer/composer herself, An Ancient Muse is, McKennitt says, a work of "musical travel writing". Drawing on research and literary musings that took her from the steppes of Mongolia to Ireland's western shores and the islands of the Mediterranean, McKennitt takes her inspiration from the Celtic peoples, fusing the melodic sensibility of Scottish and Irish balladry with musical traditions from Greece, Turkey, Spain, and even Scandinavia.

Beginning with an invocation inspired by Homer's Odyssey -- "Tell me, O Muse, of those who traveled far and wide"-- its nine tracks take the listener around the globe, across the ages and into the stories of a wondrous cast of characters. We hear the voices of a Scottish knight and his English lady, united by love and divided by strife; adventurers of the Silk Road approaching the gates of Istanbul; a Byzantine princess who witnessed the Crusades; the wandering Celts who claimed King Midas' lands; and Odysseus' faithful wife Penelope, scanning the wine-dark seas for his return.

From the sinuous grooves of "Caravanserai" to the elegiac echoes of "The English Ladye and The Knight" and the plaintive refrain of "Penelope's Song," the album boasts an exotic tapestry of instruments: harp, hurdy-gurdy, uilleann pipes, cello, kanoun, Turkish clarinet, lyra, bouzouki and nyckelharpa. Supporting musicians include Brian Hughes, Hugh Marsh, Caroline Lavelle, Manu Katché, Rick Lazar, Nigel Eaton, Steafan Hannigan, Tal Bergman, Tim Landers and Greek musicians Panos Dimitrakopoulos, Socratis Sinopoulos, Haig Yazdjian and Giorgios Kontogiannis, along with acclaimed string players and members of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey.

In an age whose uncertainties and strife make it perhaps not so very distant from eras long past, An Ancient Muse's theme, McKennitt suggests, is that we can learn lessons from history if we choose to do so - by remembering those very particular places in time when religious harmony and cultural fusion brought diverse societies together.

"I have not wavered in my conviction," she observes in the written introduction to An Ancient Muse, "that we are a culmination of our collective histories, and that there should be more to bind us together than tear us apart."

About the Artist

Canadian singer/composer Loreena McKennitt is self-managed, self-produced, and the head of her own internationally successful record label, Quinlan Road. In a recording career spanning nearly two decades, McKennitt's "eclectic Celtic" music has won critical acclaim worldwide and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in fifteen countries across four continents.

Born in the province of Manitoba, Canada, Loreena moved to Stratford, Ontario, Canada in 1981, where she still resides. She has acted and sung in, and composed music for, Stratford Festival of Canada productions ranging from The Tempest (1982) to The Merchant Of Venice (2001).

Her recording career began in 1985 with the album Elemental. In the fledgling years of her label Quinlan Road, Loreena ran its operations from her kitchen table, selling recordings by mail order and producing her own concert tours across the country.

Loreena continues to manage her career from her Stratford base. An active member of her community, she has founded and oversees important charitable undertakings in the fields of water safety and family/childhood support services.


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