With 14 million albums sold, a pair of Juno Awards and two Grammy nominations, Loreena McKennitt is celebrating the 30th anniversary of her singular career as an artist known for her groundbreaking blend of Celtic sounds and World Beat. This career is now documented on Universal Music Enterprises’ The Journey So Far—The Best of Loreena McKennitt. Out March 4, the comprehensive set comes in CD, digital and vinyl versions, with a deluxe edition including a second disc, A Midsummer Night’s Tour. This disc features highlights from the live performance recorded at the Zitadelle in Mainz, Germany, in July of 2012—a return to the city in which the 2013 Grammy nominated Troubadours on the Rhine was recorded.
“When I look back on the road from where I have come, the people I’ve met, the places and experiences which have informed the music, or even where we created or recorded the music, I marvel at how rich my journey has been”
“When I look back on the road from where I have come, the people I’ve met, the places and experiences which have informed the music, or even where we created or recorded the music, I marvel at how rich my journey has been,” says McKennitt. “I recognize that many people will be hoping for a new recording and I am delighted to say that the process of researching a new recording has begun. At the same time we’ve learned that for one reason or another, certain parts of the world have only had limited access to my catalogue and this 30th Anniversary is an opportunity for us to introduce them to some of the musical highlights over these 30 years.”
A successful self-managed maverick since her early days busking on the streets of Toronto, McKennitt established her own Quinlan Road label and publishing company and has produced albums in various locales—including a barn in Southern Ontario, a Benedictine monastery in Ireland and Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio in England, where she recorded four of her albums. Her releases include seven studio recordings, three seasonal recordings, and a live in-concert DVD from the Alhambra in Spain. She garnered double-platinum honors for 1997’s The Book of Secrets and its Top 20 crossover radio hit, “The Mummers’ Dance.”
Ms. McKennitt’s extensive traveling in pursuit of the history of the Celts, from Mongolia and China to Turkey and Siberia, has shaped her distinctive eclectic Celtic sound, which marries Eastern, Middle Eastern and Celtic musical traditions with her own lyrics and those by great poets like Shakespeare, W.B. Yeats and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
The Journey So Far—The Best of Loreena McKennitt features a selection of 12 fan favorites curated by McKennitt herself, including “The Mummers’ Dance” and “Bonny Portmore,” a traditional Irish folk song included on the soundtrack to Highlander III—The Sorcerer, as well as “Dante’s Prayer,” which led to her citation in Dan Brown’s best-selling Inferno. The set also includes “The Mystic’s Dream,” which was used extensively in The Mists of Avalon, a critically acclaimed mini-series starring Anjelica Huston.
Her appearances have taken McKennitt to concert halls and historical venues around the world, and have included performances for dignitaries including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, heads of state, as well as at the 2013 fantastical wedding of Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas in Big Sur, California.
In addition to her musical career, McKennitt has been recognized for a number of noteworthy philanthropic initiatives. In 1998 she founded the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety and she was instrumental in the transformation of a 1929 neo-Gothic school into the Falstaff Family Centre, a charitable organization focused on families and children.
In 2004 she was awarded the Order of Canada, the highest individual civilian honor that can be bestowed in her country, was appointed Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France in 2013, and she was also made an Honorary Colonel the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2006. As a privacy advocate she won a landmark privacy case in the UK. She has been awarded four honorary degrees for her non-musical endeavors.