It’s the first full day of Spring here in Central Maine, USA, and it snowed today, though not a lot of snow where I am writing this. It’s been a mostly warm winter here, the polar opposite (pun intended) from last year’s “winter that would never end” (it snowed for six consecutive months, from the day after Halloween until April).
The fresh snow made me think of Manitoba, Canada-born Loreena McKennitt, and her 1987 gem, “Snow,” from her her second album, TO DRIVE THE COLD WINTER AWAY. The album is less like a Christmas album and more like a Celtic Folk / New Age album featuring a mix of traditional songs and carols, and original music. “Snow” sort of falls under the second category.
Loreena McKennitt has been releasing music under her own Quinlan Road label for more than 30 years, an impressive feat in itself, much like how incredibly worldly she sounds than her mid-Canada upbringing would lead you to believe. Loreena also has this amazing talent of taking the written works of gifted writers like Shakespeare, Tennyson, Yeats and William Blake, and adapting their words to her original music. She did the same with “Snow.”
“Snow” is a poem by famous Canadian poet Archibald Lampman, who has been referred to as “the Canadian Keats,” who lived in Ontario in the late 1800s and passed away at the young age of 37 in 1899 from a weak heart.
I’ve been a fan of Loreena’s music for many years, long before her brush with fame in 1997 / 1998 with “The Mummer’s Dance.” I’ve also seen her perform live a couple of times, about 13 years apart. It’s an experience I can’t describe here, and though I missed her last Portland, Maine performance in 2015, if I have the ways and means, I would see her again, and in any type of weather, even in snow…