Music Reviews
Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

Verve Records/ Quinlan Road Music

Loreena McKennitt is simply magical. If heaven were to send an angel to sing to me, it would have her voice. Ever since I heard “The Mummer’s Dance” back in 1996, I was in love. In love with her voice, the Celtic sound, her. Fifteen years later, I am even more enamored with the Celtic/Irish sound and especially the voice and music of Ms. McKennitt. Her latest album may seem like nothing more than a traditional covers album on the surface, but The Wind that Shakes the Barley becomes so much more when run through the majesty that is Loreena McKennitt.

All the music is traditional that McKennitt arranged, and her love of literature is showcased by the tracks “Down by the Sally Gardens” written by W.B. Yeats and the title track written by Robert Dwyer Joyce.

The title track perfectly encapsulates what this album is about. It’s about never forgetting where you came from and always holding a place in your heart for what is familiar. In the liner notes, McKennitt says it best: “Every once in a while, there is a pull to return to one’s own roots or beginnings, with the perspective of time and experience, to feel the familiar things you once loved and love still.” (She translates this line into 12 languages on the inside cover!)

That is what The Wind that Shakes the Barley is all about. It’s about honoring the road that brought her to this point. Listening to the album, there is nothing groundbreaking, but there isn’t supposed to be. There are bits and pieces of her sound from previous albums scattered throughout this album. If you have ever been the slightest bit intrigued by Celtic/Irish music or Loreena McKennitt, you must hear this album. It is everything you could ever want and a great introductory disc to one of the greatest vocalists ever.

Quinlan Road:

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