Fans of Clannad may disagree, but Loreena McKennitt is surely the queen of mystical folk prog. This compilation draws together highlights from her stellar career and is nothing less than an invitation into a world more beautiful and mysterious than we usually allow. It’s a perfect introduction for the McKennitt newbie, full of classics from every juncture.
These range from the Celtic pipe-driven Bonny Portmore through to the trancey The Mummers’ Dance and onto world-music styled Marco Polo. The Bonny Swans demonstrates her effortless ability to combine fuzz guitar and folk vibes, while her setting of Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott transports you to a place of pure Arthurian legend.
Established fans will be a little frustrated that some of the more sprawling original tracks have been edited, but the intelligent choices make this album feel like an essential playlist. This is music for heart and soul, a doorway to escape the tawdry vicissitudes of modern life as McKennitt sings of the mysteries of the earth and sea.
As entry-level McKennitt, there’s little missing, although it’s hard not to wish that Dark Night Of The Soul had been included.