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Nicholas Waller Review: -ish: Loreena McKennitt (59* d) RE: Review: -ish: Loreena McKennitt 22 Dec 09

I like Loreena McKennitt's music, and I wouldn't say there's much that's wifty-wafty in the Enya style (though I don't care so much for her liner and web notes). Some of it, especially early stuff like To Drive The Cold Winter Away and bits of Elemental, are actually pretty austere. Her voice, and her approach, is is usually quite hard-edged too, not breathy.

I first heard her at the time of the Mask and Mirror album, which is not as austere (there's a fair number of instruments involved). Some of that sounds fairly aggressive and intense, such as Marrakesh Night Market, in a way that I don't associate with celtic waftiness.

Not to mention that her subject matter and influences (or purloinings if you prefer) range quite far afield with varying degrees of celtishness, from Tennyson and Shakespeare, some Irish, some Arabic, the Silk Road, the Caucasus, Spain, Istanbul and the eastern Med.

Every now and then I read that someone or other is a bit like Loreena McKennitt, but generally if I give them a listen I don't much care for them for one reason or another... possibly too much new age wifty waftiness. Not that I have given the whole field a good listen, but McKennitt does seem to me to be a one-of-a-kind.

At the moment, though, I am mostly listening to a lot of Muse. (And Ember and Kirsty McGee).

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