Maniacal Mondays: Loreena McKennitt
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.