The Mask and Mirror

The Mask and Mirror

by Loreena McKennittLoreena McKennitt


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Press play and enter the world of Loreena McKennitt, where walls dissolve into thick, billowing mists as the ground beneath your feet turns to compacted earth and the sky above opens up to reveal a black cloak dotted with shimmering stars draped beneath silk-like clouds. Were McKennitt's composing and songwriting abilities lacking of any luster (as they most certainly are not), her voice would still possess the strength to hold her fifth album, The Mask and Mirror, up on its own. But the combination of this talented woman's vocal prowess and songwriting ability makes her all the more similar to her work -- ethereal and almost unbelievable in its level of quality. A mythical menagerie, The Mask and Mirror contains songs that lift the veil to reveal the soul of McKennitt's work in eight dreamlike, Celtic-inspired tracks. The opening track, "The Mystic's Dream" (featured on the TNT movie The Mists of Avalon, based on the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley), is a haunting tune that features McKennitt at her most heavenly peak as a vocalist, evoking the spirits of the instruments and Gregorian chant-like background vocals that accompany her on the track. The album excels at conjuring up mythical visions in the listener's imagination, as with the gypsy-like tune "Marrakesh Night Market," which echos of the picturesque scene the title invokes. The soul-searching "Full Circle" best exhibits McKennitt's ability to transpose the true meaning of the lyrics into her songs. Even after the song ends, the somber mood lingers softly in the air. The balalaika (a three-stringed triangular-shaped instrument), the bouzouki (an eight-stringed instrument), and the hurdy-gurdy (a stringed instrument that also has keyboard and percussion parts) are among the rare, strange instruments introduced on many of the songs, including the lighthearted, uplifting "Ce He Mise Le Ulaingt? (The Two Trees)," on which these instruments demonstrate their incredible quality and prowess. The lyrics of this track are none other than the words of the poem of the same name by William Butler Yeats. McKennitt's unique use of the lyrical words of William Shakespeare, combined with her skillful adaptation of the words to the heavenly, undulating music, make the final track, "Prospero's Speech," an inspiration in itself.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/14/2006
Label: Verve
UPC: 0774213991058
catalogNumber: 000795402
Rank: 9019


  1. The Mystic's Dream
  2. The Bonny Swans
  3. The Dark Night Of The Soul
  4. Marrakesh Night Market
  5. Full Circle
  6. Santiago
  7. Ce He Mise le Ulaingt? (The Two Trees)
  8. Prospero's Speech

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Loreena McKennitt   Primary Artist,Organ,Synthesizer,Dumbek,Piano,Accordion,Harp,Keyboards,Vocals,Voices
Dónal Lunny   Bouzouki,Drums,Bodhran
Brian Hughes   Guitar,Balalaika,Electric Guitar,Oud,Electric Sitar
Ofra Harnoy   Cello
Hugh Marsh   Fiddle
Adele Armin   Strings
Andy Benac   Strings
Marie Berard   Strings
Heinz Boshard   Strings
Anne Bourne   Cello,Background Vocals
Jerzy Cichocki   Choir Master
Cross   Drums
Nigel Eaton   Hurdy-Gurdy
David Hetherington   Strings
Patrick Hutchinson   Pipe,uillean pipes
Fujice Imajishi   Strings
Morry Kernerman   Strings
George Koller   Bass,Cello,Tamboura
Sylvia Lange   Strings
Rick Lazar   Dumbek,Percussion,Drums,Udu
Susan Lipchak   Strings
David Miller   Strings
Ravi Naimpally   Tabla
Douglas Perry   Strings
Sharon Prater   Strings
Mark Sabat   Strings
Abraham Tawfik   Oud,Nai
Kent Teeple   Strings
Victoria Scholars   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Richard Evans   Engineer
Jerzy Cichocki   Director
Loreena McKennitt   Arranger,Producer,Adaptation
John Naslen   Engineer
John Welsman   Arranger,String Arrangements,Cello Arrangement
Jeff Wolpert   Engineer

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