Finaly seeing Loreena live, a dream come true!!!

I`m not sure why she wasn't touring America, but I had read she was and found the nearest concert to me was in Wilmington Delaware, and bought the best tickets left. Its in October, and I cant wait. I listen to her always as I paint, or just to clear my head. I read Caroline Lavelle is touring with her again, but I hope also to see Tal Bergman, Brian Hughes and Hugh Marsh, as well, all of which are masters of their game to my opinion! Does she run full band on tours? What can I expect at her concerts? I mean, she goes beyond a pop star, so if you have been to one, fill me in on what its like please. I thank Loreena if she sees this for touring near me, I`m honored to go!!! 

Original Post

Hi Barnacles62

 

I took my sister on the road last year and we saw Ms. McKennitt 3 nights in a row.  I promised my sister I would send her my "recollections" of the concert after we returned and while I must admit I have been a bit tardy in my effort, I did put this together as sort of a concert "remembrance".  Hope you enjoy.

 

 

Dialogue from the Stories Behind the Songs – final performance in Loreena McKennitt’s 11 city FALL tour

Peterborough Showplace Performance Centre - SUNDAY OCT 26 2014

The theatre was small and intimate, seating about 500.  I had been to both   performances the two nights before and I felt this venue had the best sound.  She began at the harp singing Samain Night with Brian on guitar and Caroline on cello.  It was especially haunting & beautiful since Halloween was so near. 

After finishing the song, Loreena spoke about how this performance was designed to be part story behind the music and part music.  She also shared that she had written a one women play back in the 80s and this evening’s show would weave threads of the play throughout.  Then she spoke about her early trips to Ireland in 81/82.  Evidently after exiting the airport she was in need of cash and went looking for a bank.  She stepped on a bus and asked the driver for assistance.  The bus driver toyed with her and gave her crazy confusing directions and then dropped her at a bank that was closed saying “Shirley to God the bank hasn’t been open for years!”  Then she told the story about a guy who greeted people leaving the airport in Belfast.  He was determined to sell them skulls of the famous Irish king Brian Boru who ruled 1000 years ago.   She bought one as a conversation piece to take home and when she returned several years later the same gentleman was trying to sell her yet another skull of the same famous Brian Boru.  When she challenged him and said I already bought the skull of Brian Boru, he responded with “well Shirley to God this one’s Brian Boru as a child”! 

She also reiterated at this time that no photography was allowed during the shows (this was interesting because as she was singing the first song there was a very loud “electronic alarm”.  I assumed she was reminding people to turn off their connection technology and respect her no camera policy).

Then she spoke of her affection for the environment and this was the preamble for the second song BONNY PORTMORE.  After she finished a member of her team came on stage and whispered something.  Evidently the loud interruption during her first song was a “phone  home” from an audience member who had had a medical event so she needed to stop the show so the emergency responders could enter the theatre and assist the elderly gentleman.

Loreena graciously handled this downtime by electing to re-insert the Q&A portion which she had previously deleted.  The first question came from a woman who asked how she had gotten into singing?  Loreena told the story of how as child she had been in a car accident that broke both her legs.  Since she couldn’t do much, her mom enrolled her in a music program.  The music director would not let anyone play an instrument unless they also sang in a choir…”thus began my singing” she declared!  My sister Rani asked how Loreena selected the poetry she puts to music and she answered “by first looking at the writers indigenous to the area she was visiting”.  Once she zeros in on a region, “the local poets become like spokes in an umbrella, branching out in numerous directions”.  Another person asked what she listens to during her pre-show preparations and she said she liked South American music from Bolivia and others but also said she usually preps by listening to BBC283 Classical Baroque.  I asked if she travels with her own piano and she said yes with larger venues but not for smaller, more intimate tours like this show. 

As they took the elderly gentleman away, she said some kind words wishing him well and she got back to the music with the instrumental BETWEEN THE SHADOWS.  She then moved to her piano and sang ONE BRIGHT MAY MORNING.  When she finished, the stage went dark and the candelabras (3 of them with 7 candles each) lit up and Loreena dropped into a story telling voice which I imagine reflected portions of the one women play she eluded to earlier.  She began with “Journal entry 1982” saying we cannot understand the present without understanding the past because things like love of home and self-determination have their roots in the past.  This then lead to the story of the Easter uprising in 1916 and the execution of Patrick Pearse, John McBride, James Connelly and others three days later...

This was the perfect segue into the WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY which is a beautiful song of loss during a civil uprising.  Next she spoke about W. B.  Yeats and his love of a woman named Maud who never returned his love.  Maud declined Yeats’ marriage proposal and instead married the man executed after the Easter uprising - John McBride.  Loreena said she has often wondered if the lyrics behind the next song, DOWN BY THE SALLY GARDENS, was actually about Yeat’s unrequited love for Maud?

Loreena then returned to more storytelling verse…this time going back even further in Irish history to the era of the devastating Irish potato famine and how the country’s population went from 8m people to 4m (2m perished and 2m emigrated).  This was followed by an instrumental with Caroline on flute known as the Emigration Tunes.

The storytelling continued by moving forward in time and reading from the transcripts of an emigration officer outside Quebec.  He was saying he had never seen a people so near death.  This was followed by another instrumental and then a 25 minute intermission.

After intermission, Loreena sang Greensleeves and then spoke of her travels to India.  She was fascinated by an oral tradition they practiced where a lower caste family was dedicated from generation to generation to memorizing their patron family’s genealogy.  This lead to a story about flying to Ireland for St. Brigid’s Day in February and singing with 30 people who were recalling from memory 15-20 verses whilst she was only doing 4-5!  She said these Irish women put her to shame!  She then sang an example of a very long song called ANACHIE GORDAN which is the Irish equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.  The melody was very melancholy and left you feeling like half your heart had washed out to sea.

After that she spoke at length about how today’s children are suffering from “nature deficit disorder” which is the opposite of Yeat’s portrayal of youth in his poem THE STOLEN CHILD which she then sang.  She also chatted about Nick Carr’s book the Shallows in which he shares evidence that connection technology is contributing to a decrease in the capacity of our human brains as well as our interpersonal connections.  The very thing that is supposed to facilitate connection is indeed replacing it with a stub and pointer to a hollow alternative.

Loreena articulated that she feels strongly about speaking up and giving back.  When describing her service as Honorary Colonel to the Canadian Air Force, she was adamant that democracy is not a spectator sport.  “The families of our service men and women are our duty to care for.”  She shared how 5 days earlier; she had been asked to visit the home of the soldier just killed by a terrorist in Ottawa’s tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  His family asked her to dedicate a song to their fallen son so she then sang PENELOPE’S SONG. 

To bring the audience back from the stream of loss, she then sang a rousing version of the BONNY SWANS which lead into her final monologue for the evening.  In this last discussion she spoke of her admiration for the Sufi culture who shared the Silk Road with the Celts.  She kept repeating a Sufi phrase “everything is for the host” and as this tailed off into quiet; it was the perfect transition into DANTE’S PRAYER. 

She then did a soft close with ALL SOULS NIGHT but graciously came back on stage for two encores with FULL CIRCLE and the NEVER-ENDING ROAD (Amhran Duit).  As she was closing out NEVER-ENDING ROAD, Brian played that eerie hanging electrified guitar note that resonates through your bones and Loreena whispered “thank you for coming.  Good night.”

Originally Posted by melanie@sorrowingbark:

Hi Barnacles62

 

I took my sister on the road last year and we saw Ms. McKennitt 3 nights in a row.  I promised my sister I would send her my "recollections" of the concert after we returned and while I must admit I have been a bit tardy in my effort, I did put this together as sort of a concert "remembrance".  Hope you enjoy.

 

 

Dialogue from the Stories Behind the Songs – final performance in Loreena McKennitt’s 11 city FALL tour

Peterborough Showplace Performance Centre - SUNDAY OCT 26 2014

The theatre was small and intimate, seating about 500.  I had been to both   performances the two nights before and I felt this venue had the best sound.  She began at the harp singing Samain Night with Brian on guitar and Caroline on cello.  It was especially haunting & beautiful since Halloween was so near. 

After finishing the song, Loreena spoke about how this performance was designed to be part story behind the music and part music.  She also shared that she had written a one women play back in the 80s and this evening’s show would weave threads of the play throughout.  Then she spoke about her early trips to Ireland in 81/82.  Evidently after exiting the airport she was in need of cash and went looking for a bank.  She stepped on a bus and asked the driver for assistance.  The bus driver toyed with her and gave her crazy confusing directions and then dropped her at a bank that was closed saying “Shirley to God the bank hasn’t been open for years!”  Then she told the story about a guy who greeted people leaving the airport in Belfast.  He was determined to sell them skulls of the famous Irish king Brian Boru who ruled 1000 years ago.   She bought one as a conversation piece to take home and when she returned several years later the same gentleman was trying to sell her yet another skull of the same famous Brian Boru.  When she challenged him and said I already bought the skull of Brian Boru, he responded with “well Shirley to God this one’s Brian Boru as a child”! 

She also reiterated at this time that no photography was allowed during the shows (this was interesting because as she was singing the first song there was a very loud “electronic alarm”.  I assumed she was reminding people to turn off their connection technology and respect her no camera policy).

Then she spoke of her affection for the environment and this was the preamble for the second song BONNY PORTMORE.  After she finished a member of her team came on stage and whispered something.  Evidently the loud interruption during her first song was a “phone  home” from an audience member who had had a medical event so she needed to stop the show so the emergency responders could enter the theatre and assist the elderly gentleman.

Loreena graciously handled this downtime by electing to re-insert the Q&A portion which she had previously deleted.  The first question came from a woman who asked how she had gotten into singing?  Loreena told the story of how as child she had been in a car accident that broke both her legs.  Since she couldn’t do much, her mom enrolled her in a music program.  The music director would not let anyone play an instrument unless they also sang in a choir…”thus began my singing” she declared!  My sister Rani asked how Loreena selected the poetry she puts to music and she answered “by first looking at the writers indigenous to the area she was visiting”.  Once she zeros in on a region, “the local poets become like spokes in an umbrella, branching out in numerous directions”.  Another person asked what she listens to during her pre-show preparations and she said she liked South American music from Bolivia and others but also said she usually preps by listening to BBC283 Classical Baroque.  I asked if she travels with her own piano and she said yes with larger venues but not for smaller, more intimate tours like this show. 

As they took the elderly gentleman away, she said some kind words wishing him well and she got back to the music with the instrumental BETWEEN THE SHADOWS.  She then moved to her piano and sang ONE BRIGHT MAY MORNING.  When she finished, the stage went dark and the candelabras (3 of them with 7 candles each) lit up and Loreena dropped into a story telling voice which I imagine reflected portions of the one women play she eluded to earlier.  She began with “Journal entry 1982” saying we cannot understand the present without understanding the past because things like love of home and self-determination have their roots in the past.  This then lead to the story of the Easter uprising in 1916 and the execution of Patrick Pearse, John McBride, James Connelly and others three days later...

This was the perfect segue into the WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY which is a beautiful song of loss during a civil uprising.  Next she spoke about W. B.  Yeats and his love of a woman named Maud who never returned his love.  Maud declined Yeats’ marriage proposal and instead married the man executed after the Easter uprising - John McBride.  Loreena said she has often wondered if the lyrics behind the next song, DOWN BY THE SALLY GARDENS, was actually about Yeat’s unrequited love for Maud?

Loreena then returned to more storytelling verse…this time going back even further in Irish history to the era of the devastating Irish potato famine and how the country’s population went from 8m people to 4m (2m perished and 2m emigrated).  This was followed by an instrumental with Caroline on flute known as the Emigration Tunes.

The storytelling continued by moving forward in time and reading from the transcripts of an emigration officer outside Quebec.  He was saying he had never seen a people so near death.  This was followed by another instrumental and then a 25 minute intermission.

After intermission, Loreena sang Greensleeves and then spoke of her travels to India.  She was fascinated by an oral tradition they practiced where a lower caste family was dedicated from generation to generation to memorizing their patron family’s genealogy.  This lead to a story about flying to Ireland for St. Brigid’s Day in February and singing with 30 people who were recalling from memory 15-20 verses whilst she was only doing 4-5!  She said these Irish women put her to shame!  She then sang an example of a very long song called ANACHIE GORDAN which is the Irish equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.  The melody was very melancholy and left you feeling like half your heart had washed out to sea.

After that she spoke at length about how today’s children are suffering from “nature deficit disorder” which is the opposite of Yeat’s portrayal of youth in his poem THE STOLEN CHILD which she then sang.  She also chatted about Nick Carr’s book the Shallows in which he shares evidence that connection technology is contributing to a decrease in the capacity of our human brains as well as our interpersonal connections.  The very thing that is supposed to facilitate connection is indeed replacing it with a stub and pointer to a hollow alternative.

Loreena articulated that she feels strongly about speaking up and giving back.  When describing her service as Honorary Colonel to the Canadian Air Force, she was adamant that democracy is not a spectator sport.  “The families of our service men and women are our duty to care for.”  She shared how 5 days earlier; she had been asked to visit the home of the soldier just killed by a terrorist in Ottawa’s tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  His family asked her to dedicate a song to their fallen son so she then sang PENELOPE’S SONG. 

To bring the audience back from the stream of loss, she then sang a rousing version of the BONNY SWANS which lead into her final monologue for the evening.  In this last discussion she spoke of her admiration for the Sufi culture who shared the Silk Road with the Celts.  She kept repeating a Sufi phrase “everything is for the host” and as this tailed off into quiet; it was the perfect transition into DANTE’S PRAYER. 

She then did a soft close with ALL SOULS NIGHT but graciously came back on stage for two encores with FULL CIRCLE and the NEVER-ENDING ROAD (Amhran Duit).  As she was closing out NEVER-ENDING ROAD, Brian played that eerie hanging electrified guitar note that resonates through your bones and Loreena whispered “thank you for coming.  Good night.”

Wow! 

I found this most helpful and thank you for your efforts, which were to say the least very detailed. I was not sure on dress code etc, but watching her videos I have of her, and using judgment in the place Ill be seeing her, Ill figure it out,lol. Im looking very forward to this. I am a fan of music, art of all types is my whole life. But I never had any music influence me like hers, its very spiritual to me...

          Thank You Kindly,

         Mike

Originally Posted by barnacles62:

I found this most helpful and thank you for your efforts, which were to say the least very detailed. I was not sure on dress code etc, but watching her videos I have of her, and using judgment in the place Ill be seeing her, Ill figure it out,lol. Im looking very forward to this. I am a fan of music, art of all types is my whole life. But I never had any music influence me like hers, its very spiritual to me...

          Thank You Kindly,

         Mike

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