An Ancient Museby Loreena McKennitt
Canadian Celtic/new age/worldbeat architect Loreena McKennitt may be an odd choice for the legendary jazz label that released benchmark albums from Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, but Verve may have been moved by the undeniably talented harpist/composer/vocalist's large collection of globe-spanning gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales awards. McKennitt's records (this is her first set of new material since 1997's Book of Secrets) tend to play like independent soundtracks to National Geographic documentaries -- kind of like a more ornate, expensive version of Dead Can Dance. An Ancient Muse may break little new ground for McKennitt, but it won't disappoint longtime fans. Her fascination with Celtic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern instrumentation (hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, kanoun, uilleann pipes, bouzouki, lyra, and oud) and her preoccupation with mythology and poetry have won her great favor with the new age/adult alternative crowd, and rightly so, as Irish-tinged ballads such as "Never-Ending Road (Amhrán Duit)" and "Penelope's Song" are just Enya songs with more instruments than vocal tracks. Her penchant for quality instrumentals, in this case the Turkish delights "Kecharitomene" and "Sacred Shabbat," sets her apart from the more stereotypical new age artists like David Arkenstone and John Tesh, and her extensive, diary-like liner notes invoke ancient archeological sites and obscure Rumi poetry without coming off as too self-absorbed.
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Performance CreditsLoreena McKennitt Primary Artist,Percussion,Piano,Accordion,Harp,Keyboards,Vocals
Brian Hughes Bouzouki,Electric Guitar,Synthesizer Guitar,Oud,Guitar (Nylon String)
Hugh Marsh Violin
Donald Quan Viola
Tal Bergman Percussion,Drums
Clive Deamer Drums
Nigel Eaton Hurdy-Gurdy
Steafan Hannigan uillean pipes,Vocal Director,Turkish Clarinet
Hossam Ramzy Percussion
Manu Katché Drums
Caroline LaVelle Cello
Tim Landers Bass
Rick Lazar Percussion
Andy Pask Acoustic Bass
Charles Pott Vocals
Christopher Redfield Viola
Wendy Rose Violin
Annbjørg Lien Nyckelharpa
Stuart Bruce Percussion
Carol Fujino Violin
Andreas Papas Percussion
Julian Empett Vocals
Lawrence Wallington Vocals
Haig Yazdjian Oud
Jason Hann Percussion
Petros Kourtis Percussion,Krotala
Annalee Patipatanakoon Violin
Bridget Hunt Violin
Daniel Blackman Viola
Ed Hanley Tabla,Udu
Ben Grossman Hurdy-Gurdy
Roman Borys Cello
Carina Reeves Cello
Warren Trevelyan-Jones Vocals
Panos Dimitrakopoulos Kanoon
Ensemble Plus Ultra Track Performer
Louise Hogan Viola
Charlie Jones Acoustic Bass
Evangelos Karipis Percussion
Georgios Kontogiannis Bouzouki
Natasha Kraemer Cello
David Martin Vocals
Nicholas Morris Track Performer
Alexander Pott Track Performer
Elliot Thompson Track Performer
Malgorzata Ziemkiewicz Viola
Thomas Hobbs Vocals
Socratis Sinopoulos Lyra
Technical CreditsBrian Hughes Engineer,Vocal Drone
Donald Quan Vocal Drone
Brian Gascoigne Arranger,String Arrangements
Kevin Killen Engineer
Paul Klingberg Engineer
Loreena McKennitt Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
John Welsman String Arrangements
Frank Wolf Engineer
Jeff Wolpert Engineer
Stuart Bruce Engineer,Vocal Drone
Ben Findlay Engineer
Walter Scott Composer
Gabe Moffett Engineer
Marco Migliari Engineer,Vocal Drone
Ann Reid Reynolds translation
Claude Gortin translation
Kostas Kousoulos Engineer
Kostas Mouroulis Engineer
Brian Nebin Engineer
Selina Stewart translation
Dafni Viorre translation
Ange Zhang Illustrations
Steve Price Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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There have been a few complaints that much of the music on this album is recycled from previous albums but something to keep in mind: An overwelming majority of artist's music sounds similar from album to album. With that being said, I don't look at this album as being a new album. I look at it as a continuation of her previous album. McKennitt's voice contains a purity that I've only heard in one other artist. Her music speaks to the ancient soul, an echo from the past that if open to it we can connect to. It is a delight to the ears and whimsy for the imagination. An excellent album and I recommend it highly.
I have all of her albums and will continue to support her however I agree with an earlier assessment that she uses many of the musical "riffs" from previous songs. You'll really notice in concert if she plays them back to back. I'd name them but for those of you just starting to explore her music I don't want to ruin it. The only real 'new' song is song #1 Incantation which for 2 1/2 minutes takes you on a journey where you've never been before. She returns you home quite quickly..not that home is a bad place to be....For all of her extensive traveling I expected more.
This is a wonderful cd from Loreena McKennitt and would be a very nice addition to anyone's music collection. Very nicely done !! The Barnes and Noble exclusive track is beautiful...
After listening to some of the samples I think Loreena has created another wonderful album. I can't wait until it is released so I can listen to it in its entirety.
After nearly 10 years, Loreena McKennitt returns to the studio. This is a lovely CD, but there is very little new music here . Yes, all of the songs are new, but she re-visits the same melodies that have served her well in the past. I have 4 of her earlier CD's , from Parallel Dreams to The Book Of Secrets and every time I listen to this CD, I keep hearing her previous songs in my head. The B & N exclusive bonus track, on it's own CD, is from 1991 and sounds like it was meant to be part of the Parallel Dreams CD . All of the songs are well done and she has not lost her ability to present cohesive stories. It just would have been nice to hear some new melodies.
A remarkable thing I have always admired in her career is the great step from being a great celtic singer (which arrives to its apex in The Visit) towards a "globalized" approach to art, her constant attempt to wider her musical horizons. This new trend began with The mask and the mirror (which I don`t know in its entirety) and The book of secrets. An ancient muse belongs to the same trend. There is nothing really new here. In fact, albeit there is no great wrong track here, the musical variety is far more limited, compared with Book of secrets. The almost cosmic and "New agey" canvas are fully captured in the introduction to Book of secrets, or in Dante's Prayer, from that album. An exciting Mummers dance gives a very wellcome contrast. The "literature" song that she uses is The highwayman, an exciting (if a bit long) piece. Also included are numbers which in our imagination have a tendency to describe Far East or a mythical Renaissance Venice. You see? A wide sort of music with celtic background and at the same time Eastern music background, with varying moods and tempi. And here??? Most of them are slow and meditative. many times it resembles to me Enya, than "The Visit". I have read this maybe related to the death of her fiance and his friends, as if it had encapsulled her in a "frozen" way of making music. The product is quite professional but very "samey" along the album. Some tracks are simply boring (I like renaissance music but the piece here with Scott`s lyrics with viola da gamba ensemble has the most boring arrangement I have listened in her music). Conclusion: her musical evolution stopped in Book of secrets. Buy that and The visit as a good contrast. Or the Alhambra concert, they say it is great.
This this the work of a Muse -- Rarely does a nightingale sing so sweetly. Listen for youself and enjoy. . .
After a long wait since the Book of Secrets, another masterful CD. I hope we don't have to wait so long for the next one.
Sooo... much happening within this musical endeavor. Something new each time I listen. Same musical style that is Loreena and the amazing band.Her lyrical skill is way beyond the "usual" songwriter. "Heartfelt" is the best description I can use. "An Ancient Muse" is worth the waiting.
I was captivated by this album in the first ten seconds. I never thought that it would be possible to recapture the magic of "The Mask and the Mirror" This journey takes off smoothly from where that one ended. The beauty of the music and vocals are breathtaking, everything I wished and more than I hoped for when I first spotted the CD. The prologue to "Never-Ending Road(Amhran Duit)" gave me chills and her vocals were captivating. Loreena's fans should embrace this, the wait has been worth it.
I don't know what was wrong with that clown 'A Reviewer' saying there was nothing new, after listening to the 30 second samples on this page. I found the whole CD rather pleasant, and relaxing. I would rate this above her previous work Book of Secrets. It's sweet. There are no real rockers on here, but there's no real sleepers either. With her releases being spread out quite a number of years apart, I am happy to have Loreena treat us again with her work. She's always welcome in my house. I could listen to her for hours.
Once again, this latest collection is like drinking fine wine, out of the Holy Grail. McKennet has a way of squeezing the sweetest nectar out of every melody, and dripping it slowly into our hungry ears.
I am a fa of classical music which is just discovering new types of music, such as celtic. So it was a pleasure to find in LM a perfect celtic way, perfectly conveying a "new age" fragance with strong celtic trend. But there is a more powerfull force in her music, that is intelectual wisdom, a truly visionary fusion of styles: celtic, oriental, ... And with great interest I just have finished to listen to samples, and, realy, my 1st impression is that there is nothing new, comparing with her 2 great albums, mask and Mirror and Book of Secrets. I have the Live in paris and toronto album and I still think is the most enchanting and exciting music she has ever performed.
The music to this album kind of has this feel of middle eastern music with her ever-present celtic music and superb vocals. There may only be 10 songs, but they are all beautifully written and performed. A definite 10 for Loreena McKennitt. After her fiance died, I know she must have gone through an extremely hard time, so this album also has a sad note to it, but, again, very beautiful.
I own all 7 of the other Loreena McKennitt alblums, and I was so excited about the release of "An Ancient Muse", I ran out and bought it this morning and I have been glued to it all day...wow, I cant believe it came out today, and I already know some of the songs! A marvel, a magical cd...its, overpowering!
Just got my B&N edition. This is a 2CD set with the bonus track Raglan Road on a single disc. I have all the other Loreena CDs and I must say that An Ancient Muse is another masterpiece! I just love every single piece on this album! And the lyrics Loreena wrote this time are my favourite of all the other ones she wrote in her previous albums. They all touched my soul and even brought tears to my eyes... There are many other versions of Raglan Road, but Loreena's version definitely is my favourite-the most emotional version I have ever heard.
I'm very glad to have more music from Loreena McKennitt and each album she puts forth seems to be one step ahead of the last. Just when you think she has reached her peak, another album elevates her greatness to a new level.