Loreena McKennitt's An Ancient Muse Concert
"Tell me, O Muse, of those who travelled far and wide." - The Odyssey and touch point for the Ancient Muse Concert that I had the great good fortune and pleasure to attend last night at the State Theater in Minneapolis.
The ten musicians create this luxuriant musical tapestry that is both ancient and new; rooted in Celtic sounds with hints of inspirations from the mideast or Greece, grounded in a variety of percussion, hurdy gurdy and cello and soaring with the ethereal, sweet and beautiful voice of Loreena. The interplay between the guitars, oud and bouzouki of Brian Hughes and Hugh Marsh's violin was wonderful to see as they traded phrases and Brian added richer texture by moving from electric to acoustic guitar in a song. The lyra and lute of Sokratis Sinopoulos harkened to harmonies of an ancient time. And, oh yes, Loorena's harp, piano and accordion complemented her singing and story telling and blended in perfectly with the overall music of the ensemble.
Loreena spoke of her travels on the Siberian Railroad or to China or Turkey and how the literature she was reading, the historical trails she was investigating and the places she visited combined to inspire her songs. She spoke of history as alive and unfolding. She discussed her discovery of Celtic tribal culture and how she has found her roots in this culture. Clearly, as the nomadic Celtic tribes, she has expanded beyond recreating the historical songs to bring it to life with the power and passion of her adventures today - musically, historically, traveling, literature.
She spoke of the pleasure of sharing the music as a cook who has created a feast, but the feast needs to be shared by people like those in the audience. It was a musical feast. Well done!
It was an inspiring performance. We were in the first row of the concert and I felt as intimate as being in a sherpa tent with this powerful muse and her ensemble of musical travelers. The concert rekindled in me a sense of passion and wonder and excitement for the infinite possibilities life affords us.