Reviewer: The Rebecca Review
Who would not want to read a book of secrets…Except,
this is one you listen to.
“The journey not the destination, becomes a source of
Loreena McKennitt spent a few years thinking about Celtic
nomadic ways. She wondered if this need arose from an insatiable
curiosity. She set off to travel to Rome and ended up in
Istanbul. She set off for Japan and ended up on a train across
Siberia. The CD booklet, is interesting to read as you listen
and reveals her sources of inspiration. Of course after reading
the booklet, you might feel compelled to go off on your own
The songs on this album are all a reflection of Loreena’s
knowledge of the world. She seems to be seeking, exploring
possibilities and expressing what she has captured.
1. Prologue – inspired by “From The Holy
Mountain” by William Dalrymple. There is a certain emptiness
and remorse woven into this piece. Maybe a longing for what
could have been. You can almost imagine monks traveling from
monastery to monastery to collect ancient wisdom.
2. The Mummers’ Dance – Loreena incorporated the
chorus of a traditional mumming song and her words take on new
meaning when you realize that mumming involves a group of
performers who dress up in masks and clothes bedecked with
ribbons and carrying branches of greenery. This “mumming”
has its roots in tree worshiping, which will make you consider
why you bring a tree in at Christmas time, at least it is worth
considering. Although I think people are more interested in
worshipping materialism at the malls.
3. Skellig – this song becomes almost hypnotic as it
seems to spin in circles or maybe it is more like the flicker of
a candle that grows brighter as you approach it on a dark night.
4. Marco Polo – Loreena has interwoven an authentic
Sulfi melody at the beginning and middle of this piece. It is
5. The Highwayman – Friends suggested setting Alfred
Noyes’ poem “The Highwayman” to music. While in the
studio, Loreena imagined the sound of horses galloping down a
moonlit lane. Best to listen to this song while reading the
lyrics, which are included and paint a tragic tale even more
dramatically in song.
6. La Serenissima – Delicate and haunting.
7. Night Ride Across the Caucasus – the notes
explain how people are affected by music and either hear the
spiritual meaning or the material sound.
“In the velvet of the darkness
By the silhouette of silent trees
They are watching, they are waiting
They are witnessing life’s mysteries.”
8. Dante’s Prayer – inspired by Dante’s The
Divine Comedy (a vernacular poem in 100 cantos), Loreena thinks
about the human condition and how we all want to believe there
is a place better than our own. An almost sorrowful and yet
hopeful melody. Italian poet, Dante (1265-1321) gave an
explanation of what happens after we die and this question is
still just as controversial today.
Perhaps she was inspired by: “Temo di perder viver tra
coloro, che questo tempo chiameranno Antico.” (I fear I
will lose life among those who will call this time ancient.”
She sings “Please remember me.” She also speaks of “Beyond
the ice and the fire.” The innermost pit of hell is for Dante,
ice. The dark woods implies the present state of mankind and
when you think about this while listening, the words suddenly
become more meaningful.
I found this CD to be an expression of continuing knowledge.
Knowledge from the past flows through Loreena McKennitt’s
consciousness and turns into music. It is an evolution of travel
and contemplation. Through her experiences, music evolves into
moments of pure beauty.
Inspirational and Deeply Calming.