- Category : Musician - Popular
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/2 - Heretical / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Industry 1
Loreena Isabel Irene McKennitt, CM, OM (born February 17, 1957) is a Canadian singer, composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist who writes, records and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. McKennitt is known for her refined and clear soprano vocals. She has sold more than 14 million records worldwide.
McKennitt was born in Morden, Manitoba of Irish and Scottish descent to parents Jack (died 1992) and Irene McKennitt (1931–2011). She moved to Stratford, Ontario in 1981, where she still resides.
When she was young McKennitt wanted to become a veterinarian. However, she would later state that music chose her rather than she it. Developing a passion for Celtic music, she learned to play the Celtic harp and began busking at various places, including St. Lawrence Market in Toronto in order to earn money to record her first album.
McKennitt's first album, Elemental, was released in 1985, followed by To Drive the Cold Winter Away (1987), Parallel Dreams (1989), The Visit (1991), The Mask and Mirror (1994), A Winter Garden (1995), The Book of Secrets (1997), An Ancient Muse (2006), A Midwinter Night’s Dream (2008), and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2010). All of her work is released under her own label, Quinlan Road.
In 1990, McKennitt provided the music for the National Film Board of Canada documentary The Burning Times, a feminist revisionist account of the Early Modern European witchcraft trials. The main theme would later be rerecorded by her and her band and called "Tango to Evora", a track that appears on her album The Visit.
In 1993, she toured Europe supporting Mike Oldfield. In 1995, her version of the traditional Irish song "Bonny Portmore" was featured in the Highlander series. McKennitt's single "The Mummers' Dance" received airplay in North American markets during the spring of 1997, and was used as the theme song for the short-lived TV series Legacy. It also saw use in the trailer for a wide-release 1998 Drew Barrymore film Ever After.
Her music appeared in the movies The Santa Clause, Soldier, Jade, Holy Man, The Mists of Avalon and Tinkerbell; and in the television series Roar, Due South, and Full Circle (Women and Spirituality).
On November 30, 2012, McKennitt lent her support to Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation together with Tim Janis, Sarah McLachlan, Andrea Corr, Hayley Westenra, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Dawn Kenney, Jana Mashonee, Amy Petty and a choir etc performing on "The American Christmas Carol" concert in Carnegie Hall.
In 1998, McKennitt's fiancé Ronald Rees, his brother Richard and their close friend Gregory Cook drowned in a boating accident on Georgian Bay. She was deeply affected by the event and subsequently founded the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety in the same year.
At the time of the incident, she was working on a live album of two performances called Live in Paris and Toronto. The proceeds from this album were donated to the newly created memorial fund, totaling some three million dollars. After the release of the live album, McKennitt decided to substantially reduce the number of her public performances and did not release any new recordings until the studio album An Ancient Muse in 2006.