When my sister married on Halloween in 2004, she selected “Prologue” from The Book Of Secrets as her entrance music for when she descended the staircase of her old Victorian home in Cincinnati, Ohio. As the drums beat and the tune soared, Mary floated down to her bridegroom and the waiting crowd. Dressed in a long satiny gown, her long red hair adorned in a headdress, she seemed like a goddess: her face radiant, the air full of power.
She took my breath away, and for a long moment she seemed not of this world. Never had she looked so beautiful; she literally glowed with the sacredness of love.
Now when I hear the “Prologue,” all I need do is close my eyes and I see her face transfixed with happiness, dressed in her bridal dress as she moved down the stairs.
Plain View, Virginia
I have been a big fan of Loreena's since 1997, when The Book Of Secrets was released. I had bypass surgery shortly before that and despite open-heart surgery, the US Air Force decided I could stay in three more years in order to reach retirement. I worked in the pharmacy at Andrews AFB, home of Air Force One.
While recovering, I was in charge of ordering drugs/supplies/equipment, getting to stay off my feet most of the time! Anyway, since I wasn't running around filling prescriptions but rather sitting at a desk, I brought in my music box and CDs of Loreena’s. After falling in love with The Book Of Secrets, of course I had to purchase all of her previous releases! Well, not only did the rest of the staff get exposed to her music, I promoted it!
One of the pharmacists came to me and asked me if I had to choose just one, which one of the CDs would I get? (She had decided to give Loreena to a friend of hers for her birthday). I can't say if I “sold” any other CDs, but I do know that every one of the staff learned who Loreena McKennitt is during the rest of my time at Andrews! I guess the new CD will do the same thing this fall when I play it over and over again (broken up only by the other CDs). I love the music and Loreena has given me hours and hours of enjoyment over the past 10 years or so.
The way I first heard Loreena McKennitt's music was through a gift from a friend. The way I first truly listened to her music was due to the journeys of two other friends.
I had a friend in Austin, Texas with impeccable taste in music. We regularly exchanged gifts of our musical discoveries to each other. One time I received CDs of two artists, Loreena McKennitt (The Visit) and Eliza Gilkyson. Although I think of myself as having a keen ear for good music, I have to admit that it can sometimes take me several listens to truly hear and appreciate new music. And I have a bit of a bias against flawless voices - I tend to prefer voices which immediately strike me with distinctive character (Tom Waits, Janis Joplin). So upon first hearing Loreena I could tell it was very beautiful, but my silly prejudice came to the fore and kept me from really listening at first.
At this time another friend of mine had broken both of his ankles in a terrible fall at his workplace and he was laid up at home for many months in leg casts after major reparative surgery. He was a very active person so everyone - especially his wife - was very worried and concerned how he would respond to being idle for a long period. Actually, he took it quite well. Being a person with a spiritual side, he accepted this tragedy as a gift - an opportunity to slow down and learn and grow in new ways. I would occasionally bring gifts of books or music for him. I gave him the CD of Loreena's The Visit and an Eliza Gilkyson album one day. When I spoke to him and his wife later, they said they really liked “that lady's music”. To tell the truth, at that point, I expected he and his wife to prefer Eliza, but to my surprise, they said it was Loreena's music they enjoyed more(though they did enjoy Eliza as well - who is a remarkable artist, too). That inspired me to listen more closely to The Visit and begin to appreciate her amazing voice and her great gift for deep expression. And as I talked with my friends about the impact ofLoreena's music, we discussed the lyrics of the songs and truly responded to her stunning, poetic exploration of the spiritual aspect of this Life.
After some time my friend had his leg casts removed and was able to get out of the house occasionally - but he still would be confined to a wheelchair for a while before he could begin therapy to regain the use of his severely injured ankles. I had heard that Loreena would be performing in concert here in Chicago so I asked my friends if they thought they'd be able to attend. Another thing you have to know about my friend is that he hated crowds and almost always avoided any such large gatherings. And even though he would have to attend the concert in a wheelchair, he did seriously consider going to hear the woman whose music truly helped him in his efforts to raise his consciousness during his long months of immobility. He told me he would take the rest of the weekend to decide and asked me to call him on Monday for his reply. That was the last conversation I ever had with my remarkable friend. He died that Monday suddenly and unexpectedly due to a blood clot which formed in his legs and travelled to his lungs.
Needless to say, we were all deeply grieved at the loss of our dear friend. My now widowed friend, Ellen, grieved more deeply than anyone, of course. She seemed inconsolable and was unable to return to work for several months. Members of their families and numerous friends and co-workers gathered for his memorial service. At Ellen's request we played The Visit and The Mask And Mirror at the service. Many people were curious about who was singing this amazing, moving music.
Considering her deep grief, I didn't expect that Ellen would be up for attending Loreena's upcoming concert in just a few weeks, but I mentioned it to her and she responded without hesitation: “Yes, let's go.” As the day of the concert approached, I took it upon myself to send a fax to Quinlan Road relating these events and asked if they could forward the story to Loreena. I also said that we would love a chance to meet with Loreena, if possible. Her road manager contacted me and said that, yes, Loreena would be very pleased to meet with us after the concert. We were very moved by the concert, of course. And it was a great honour to meet with Loreena after that performance. Loreena was very gracious and expressed her condolences at Ellen's loss. It meant a lot to Ellen to have that moment with the artist whose unique expression helped her husband through his difficulties and now was helping her through her own grief.
I gave Ellen the CD of The Book Of Secrets when it came out. And we frequently discussed Loreena's music and the lyrics of all the stunning songs she has given us. Whenever we got together she inevitably would ask, “Does Loreena have a new CD yet? Is she touring?” I was on the mailing list and would tell Ellen any news I heard. Unfortunately, my dear friend Ellen got breast cancer, which spread to her brain, and she died a little over a year ago. She lived for a year and a half after her initial diagnosis. And, as her husband did, she took this illness as a gift and spent the time she had left to dive deep within her being to understand and appreciate the gift of Life as much as possible. Loreena's music was a constant companion during that time.
So now I have lost two dear friends who have taught me a lot. They taught me something about living this fragile Life with a greater sense of awareness and a deeper sense of appreciation. It was also due to them that I began to listen more closely to Loreena's music and truly hear it. They both often thanked me for introducing them to Loreena, but it is I who am grateful to them for showing me the way to listen with greater intent. I look forward with keen interest to hear more music from such a unique artist and remarkable human being. On behalf of myself and my departed friends, thank you Ms McKennitt, you have touched our human hearts and inspired us more than I can say.
Having input the CD/DVD version of The Mask And Mirror in my CD player, just a few hours before, I came across the interactive version and I was driven to the internet site of Loreena. I didn't know that such a site existed! I felt immediately the need to join your community and as I was surfing through the pages of your site, the desire to learn about Loreena's comments was growing inside me more and more. I really feel the need to say sorry for not being member of your community for such a long time.
It is not that if I had done it earlier the world would have changed. It is just the need to encourage some people on their journey through life - and music, the need to tell them to keep on doing what they have started and never give up, because they are the sparks for thousand of others that follow.
I am 30 years old and I come from Greece. At the moment I am studying in Germany. I first learned about Loreena around ten years before when I watched the film Highlander 3 (I was mainly attracted by the song “Bonny Portmore”). At that time Loreena's name sounded so difficult to me that I couldn't keep it in my mind!
Days later my cousin dropped by bringing a CD by “some mysterious woman singing really beautifully”. It was The Mask And Mirror! It was just that summer that Loreena came to Athens to perform in Lecabetus Hill. Many years later, and after the release of The Book Of Secrets, me and my friends (to whom I introduced Loreena's music) spent a lot of time trying to understand the mysterious personality behind the Celtic myths.
From that time and till today, having bought of course all Loreena's albums, my friends and I had only one question that is partly answered through the site. Why Loreena has not released a new album all these time? We were expecting a new album all these years with eager desire! Of course reading through the pages of the website I learnt that Loreena is on her new long play album, something that made me really happy.
Going through your site I can say that I was very touched. This is not an ordinary site. This is Loreena herself speaking! Coming to the Contact Us part and reading the line “Although the volume of communication we receive has unfortunately outstripped my capacity to respond to everything personally, please understand that you are considered with a regard that surpasses the implication inherent in the word 'fan', and that your correspondence via whatever medium means a great deal to me” I almost felt tear s coming from my eyes.
The summer Loreena came to perform in Athens I was too young and fresh to deeply understand Loreena's music so I saw her performance from the hill of Lecabetus, enjoying the music but alas, not being able to meet her eyes and expression from close!
I long for the day I will have the chance to do so and correct my past fault!
Sometimes when I listen to her music I can see her riding on a llama in the night along the Caucasus...
I would like to request a copy of the sheet music for “The Lady Of Shalott” from TheVisit " CD. The reason for this request is a bit circuitous, but I hope you'll bear with me.
I am writing to express my gratitude to Loreena for her beautiful music. I listen to it often and her music gives me a moment of peace in this place of war and violence. I am a soldier with the Army National Guard of Missouri USA. My unit is an engineer company and we are mainly heavy equipment operators. We go from camp to camp working on roads inside and outside the camps, sometimes without incident, sometimes not. Mortars, enemy small arms fire, rockets and such are a weekly occurrence. I am a husband and a father of a two-year-old daughter. I guess the main reason I am writing this is to say that I own the CD The Book Of Secrets and I love it and love Loreena’s voice. I intend to purchase more of her music and am thankful that I have this opportunity to send my appreciation. I would love to be a part of your group of friends.
US Army National Guard