Loreena McKennitt in Turkey for three concerts
As part of her world tour following the 2018 release of her album “Lost Souls,” Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt brings her music to İzmir, Ankara and Istanbul. She will perform her eclectic Celtic blend of pop, folk and world music at three venues.
The artist, who described her music as “musical travel writing” and has sold more than 14 million albums worldwide, will kick off the Turkish leg of the tour at the Kültürpark Open Air Theater in the western province of İzmir on June 29.
From there she will be heading to the Congresium Ankara on June 30 and will take the Istanbul stage on July 1 at the Volkswagen Arena.
McKennitt replied to questions in an interview.
We are very happy to have you here in Turkey once again. What is it that you like most about Turkey and Turkish audience?
There are many things about Turkey and its people that I have come to appreciate so much. As I have travelled to Turkey off and on, I have come to appreciate how hospitable and welcoming the people are, even in the most modest of circumstances. There is a richness to the culture and history and of course, the geography of the Turkey is vast, diverse and in many cases stunningly beautiful.
Do you have any remarkable memories?
One of my favorite travels was around 2003 from Istanbul to Ankara, Safranbolu, Konya and Cappadocia. Learning about history from different angles and locations and points of view is a very enriching experience and I would like to feel that it makes one a more mature citizen of the world. So much of what happens in each generation, is informed by the history before it. I am grateful to have found music and particularly Celtic heritage to provide me a vehicle of learning and exploration. History, including ancient history has considerable relevance to our lives today. I am humbled by the fact that the more I learn, the more there is to know and that this is a life-long exercise and journey.
How did you get acquainted with Celtic music and culture? How was that very first crush?
I first was exposed to Celtic music in a folk club in Manitoba in the late 1970’s. I was immediately smitten by the music and knew one way or other that I wanted to be involved in it.
If you had a chance, which period would you like to go back in past?
I don’t have a preference as I do not know enough about various time periods to have a strong opinion. What I do value is an organization of our society which is built and operated relative to what we as a species need in order to thrive. This tends to be linked to village and small communities and the qualities of life which come with a particular scale and slowness of life to be able to comprehend and respond to each other. I think of the British anthropologist Robin Dunbar who, in studying primates, has determined that we as a species thrive best in communities of around 150-200. It is called the Dunbar Rule. In such smaller groupings, we know each other, are invested in each other, can respond to each other in real life not “virtual life.”
What are your very first memories about music? How was your childhood environment? Was music a part of your family and life?
My family was not particularly musical; they enjoyed music, but did not play instruments or sang very much outside of some campfires and church. The community I lived in was very musical though and music was rich in the schools, and various community events. I became attracted to Celtic music in the late 1970’s when I was part of a folk music club in Winnipeg.
In your website, you say “I aspired to be a veterinarian as a child but in the way that -best laid plans get sent sideways- I found that music chose me rather than me, it.” So what kind of an impact does music have on you?
I have marveled at the way music can have an impact on one’s emotional state. I have often referred to it is a kind of aural pharmacy. As many people can attest to, certain genres of music can induce or sustain/suspend an emotional state. Jazz or classical music can be used to create a particular mood… many people are also aware of music which can be supportive of meditation. I am also aware of how certain kinds of music can be used in settings of war and aggression such as pipes and drums in the Celtic tradition, or heavy metal in more contemporary war settings.
Do you know any Turkish artist and musician?
I have heard so many wonderful Turkish musicians since my first visit it is hard to pick out just one but I am aware of folk artists like Arif Sağ and Belkıs Akkale and artists mixing local and western genres such as Barış Manço. Everyone will also probably already know that Nilufer recorded a beautiful interpretation of “Tango To Evora” in the late 1990s which helped bring my music to the attention of an even wider audience of Turkish listeners.
How about writing lyrics and composing? Could you please give more insight about your composing and lyric writing process?
There does not seem to be any rule about whether the lyrics come first or the music. Sometimes I will note little phrases of words in a notebook to come back to and develop them. Often little melodies will come into my mind without thinking about it. I find being in a state of relaxation and often moving such as traveling on a train, car or bicycle to be inductive to creativity and being close to the natural world.
You received critical acclaim worldwide and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in 15 countries across four continents. What is the secret behind your notable success?
It is hard for me to say, but I think there have been three main components: The Celtic music or that kind of musical approach has an infectious quality built into it. It is this that attracted me to it in the first place. Secondly, I have approached the arrangements in a less than conventional way…classical instruments with contemporary ones (electric guitar/drums) and then bring in various ethnic instruments that were inspired by my travels. Thirdly, I believe there is a quality in my voice which has a kind of emotional transparency which people find attractive and meaningful.
What are your interests other than music?
Gardening, bicycling, reading, spending time with friends, hiking and camping.
Social works, environment, animals also are among the most prominent issues for you. What are your activities and initiatives about these matters?
I own and run a family center in Stratford, Ontario the city close to where I live. I believe in our contemporary life, children and families have not been understood or supported enough. Where ever I can, I plant a lot of trees and intend to spend more time focusing on how I can improve my own life with respect to climate change as well as my local community.