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the mask and the mirror - a guide to the celtic mythology and spanish cultural heritage
The Mask And The Mirror - Loreena McKennitt
Member Name: celticgirl84
The Mask And The Mirror - Loreena McKennitt
Advantages: a great fusion of celtic and spanish tunes and folk stories
Disadvantages: short track list
If you are a fan of everything remotly sounding Celtic, like me, this album will be pure joy. Celtic legends enveloped into trubadour tunes and passionate spanish melodies, all combined, will transfer you to the 15. century world, where the elements of mystical Celtic and colorfull Spanish cultures mesh into a delightfull blend.
Loreena Mckennitt: "The mask and the mirror" (1994.); three times platinum album in Canada
1. Mystic's dream
2. The bonny swans
3. The dark night of the soul
4. Marrakesh night market
5. Full circle
7. The Two Trees
8. Prospero's Speech
"The Mystic's dream" is an aery introduction into the compilation. With a gregorian chorus and the sounds of horn and drums it slowly leads your imagination into the world of Merlin and the druids. The song was used as a part of soundtrack to the movie The Mists of Avalon and it fit great as a sound coulisse to that Arthurian movie.
"A clouded dream on an earthly night
Hangs upon the crescent moon
A voiceless song in an ageless light
Sings at the coming dawn"
"The bonny swans", a version of the murder balad from the 17. century, is a drum-violin duel song that tells a sad story of one sister drowning the other in order to get a lover. Even though the story is sad the violin like sections lift it to another level and the song dares you to hum it days later.
"Oh sister, oh sister, pray lend me your hand
a hey ho and me bonny o, and I will give you house and land
the swans swim so bonny o, I'll give you neither hand nor glove
a hey ho and me bonny o, unless you give me your own true love
the swans swim so bonny o".
"The dark night of the soul" is a shakespearian style song about the lovers hidden by night. Calm and guitared, it lulls into the oh so familiar memory of the stories of maidens and their knights falling into love forbidden either by their families or the society.
"Upon a darkened night
The flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest"
The twist in the album is "Marrakesh night market", a fusion of belly dance and passionate spanish tune that by lyrics tells a story of a world similar to the one of Alladin - a seductive world of magic, opium and the wonders of the Nile.
"The stories are woven
And fortunes are told
The truth is measured by the weight of your gold
The magic lies scattered
On rugs on the ground
Faith is conjured in the night market's sound"
"Full circle" brings you slowly to the Celtic ground, warming your heart with that kind of "organ duels violin sound" that takes you to magical places like the Cliffs of Moher (that was my first thought, anyway).
"Stars were falling deep in the darkness
as prayers rose softly, petals at dawn
And as I listened, your voice seemed so clear
so calmly you were calling your god"
To keep you aware of the fusion of two melos on this album there is "Santiago", an instrumental trubadouric spanish tune that reminds you of stories such as Don Quijote, played with balalaika and drums which makes it a very dance provoking song.
The pipes lead you to a musical and somewhat changed performance of Yates' poem "Two trees" in which the piano perfectly matches Loreena's vibrant voice and the violins give the gracious fullness to the song. This is maybe the best song of the album and it fully represents Loreena's rich vocal abilities.
"The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee."
The album ends with another poem interpretation, this time Shakespeare's "Prospero's speech" from "The Tempest", organ played and sung gregorian style since it's talks of redemption and resolution.
"But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please"
This album is a short, but rich guide to the Celtic and Spanish melos' that dares you to research McKennitt's music in search of more songs depicting her amazing playing and singing skills.
Summary: mystical and provoking music that makes you hum and dance