I went to see Loreena McKennitt last night here in Ottawa at the National Art Centre's Southam Hall, and what a marvellous concert it was. Though I didn't get back home until after 12:15 am. :)
One of the few musical artists I've seen perform the last few years (other than trips to the Ottawa Bluesfest and the like), Loreena McKennitt is best known by her fans for her signature reddish-blonde mane flowing to her shoulders and her trusty musical companions at her side with the Celtic muse fully engaged. Last night at Southam Hall, she did not disappoint. Accompanied by many of the musicians that she's toured and played with over the years, the artist was in her element last night. As many expected, McKennitt played selections from her vast catalogue of music, as well as some seasonal pieces, and didn't disappoint. Her voice, golden in sound (and soprano, if I'm not mistaken) is very much solid and pure despite the time that's passed, and she was brilliant with "The Lady of Shalot", "Bonny Portmore", and "Penelope's Song".
There was a lot of talking between the songs, and the performances were more intimate than what I've seen from her shows in the past. She told lots of stories about her journeys and the inspirations behind her songs, and I have to say that she really did give the songs more intimacy and meaning through these expositions of their origins. Her latest album is <i>The Wind That Shakes the Barley</i>, an album that is much more traditional and Irish-influenced, and she played the title song to great effect last night. Some of my favourite tunes last night were "The Star of the County Down", "Bonny Portmore", the aforementioned title song of the latest album, "Marco Polo", "As I Roved Out", and "All Souls Night".
Overall, a wonderful concert and lovely show put on by a female musician who never disappoints. There's a second concert again this evening that I wish I could go to, but I'm still basking in the performance from last night.