“I have come to use the pan-Celtic history, which spans from 500 BC to the present, as a creative springboard”, says Loreena McKennitt. “The music I am creating is a result of travelling down that road and picking up all manner of themes and influences, which may or may not be overtly Celtic in nature. With The Mask And Mirror I began my journey in Galicia, the Celtic corner of Spain, and I moved on from there as I continued on my own historical and musical pilgrimage. I looked back and forth through the window of 15th century Spain, through the hues of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and was drawn into a fascinating world: history, religion, cross-cultural fertilization.”
Self-produced and boasting an exotic palette of instrumentation from cello and uillean pipes to dumbeg, tabla and oud, Loreena’s fifth album was released in 1994 and has since sold several million copies worldwide. Spanning Spanish, Celtic and Moroccan influences, it follows paths of inspiration from Ireland to Santiago de Compostella to the Middle East. Accompanying musical settings of poems by St. John Of The Cross and Shakespeare are eclectic, richly-textured originals including a seductively dramatic “The Mystic's Dream” and “Marrakesh Night Market”.
In its journeys, it examines, says Loreena, the questions that echo down the centuries: “Who was God? What is religion, what spirituality? What was revealed and what was concealed … and what was the mask and what the mirror?”