Maniacal Mondays: Loreena McKennitt

Loreena Some of you may already know that I come from Stratford, Ontario. It's a great little town that has made its name with a pretty cool theatre scene, and from April to November every year the town is alive with visitors from around the world here to see how we get our Shakespeare on. As the popularity of this blog has grown I get asked more and more why I don't feature more homegrown, Stratford talent. As a certain young Stratford performer named Bieber continues his rise to the top of the charts, here's what I get asked most:

"You know, you should write about how good Justin is. People want to hear about that."

Or, as I was recently emailed by a young Bieberhead from the States, 

"Why don't you write about Justin and thank him for making Stratford a place people want to visit?"

Here's the thing…while I appreciate the talent Justin possesses and I'm sure him name dropping Stratford every now and again on the tube helps bring some attention to the town, Stratford has an artist that puts Justin to shame as far as sales, credentials, and respect amongst the ranks of musicians around the world goes.

Stratford folk already know I'm talking about Loreena McKennitt, who since the early 80s has called Stratford home. She's released nine studio albums, four live albums, plus a 'Best Of'. All to the tune of over 14 million units sold worldwide. She has been an amazing supporter of the Stratford arts community, and runs her entire operation out of offices based in town. And while I'm sure Usher may be a little intimidated by her fondness for the harp and funky Celtic vibe, she's managed to tour the world many times over to packed houses wherever she lands. Justin may have the world's attention right now, but he still has a thing or six to learn from an artist like Loreena, who I get the feeling really does care about the music first and popularity second. Actually, popularity might rank third or fourth.

So for something a little different for the Maniacal Monday spot, here's Loreena McKennitt performing The Mummers' Dance from her 1997 album The Book of Secrets.


About Jay Moon

Freelance writer guy. My ears love music. I'm a transplant recipient (October/2015), so I also give talks to the masses about that entire experience.

Posted on February 7, 2011, in Maniacal Mondays and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks for pushing the Stratford love in a direction other than Justin. Loreena is definitely worth the attention.

  2. Agreed, Charlie. In my own personal experiences with Loreena she has never been anything but supportive and generous.

  3. Even though BrittleStar has not garnered the much deserved attention on a worldwide scale, it should be a honorable mention as another of the class acts from the Stratford Arena. All of BrittleStar music is written and performed by the front man Stewart Reynolds.

  4. Jeff-Stewart has done a great job as an independent artist getting the Brittlestar name out there. And he’s an amazing dancer, or so I’ve been told.

  5. Hear hear! …as in “Hear the awesome music Loreena makes!” I’ve been infatuated with her for years…the weird ‘dancey’ remix of Mummers Dance (not my favourite, btw, but is accurate for my mini-story) has a place in my heart because it was playing on the radio at 5 am the day I took my first independent trip down south to visit friends in the US. I’ve always loved Stratford for it’s festival and for Loreena…I feel bad that Biebs gets so crapped upon, but it’s good to see someone point out Stratford’s ‘actual’ musical gem.
    Sidenote: in school Loreena came up fairly reguarly. For one, she’s a singer, songwriter, self-managed, and wholly independent. Secondly, and a fact that may sound strange to us in Canada, Loreena still (I believe) holds the position as the biggest international best selling ‘World’ music musician. Yup, her celtic sound counts as ‘world,’ and she sells more than anyone else in the genre…and she does it all from Stratford…and by herself!

  6. Roo-I think schools could pretty much teach an entire course on indie artist management strategy with Loreena as the sole topic. Glad to hear you’re a fan!

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