A series of seasonal concerts held in a historic sanctuary in Stratford, Ontario in December 2021 were recorded live and are now being released by Juno Award-winning Canadian artist Loreena McKennitt as her 16th album, entitled Under A Winter’s Moon, while a two-week companion tour of Ontario is set to launch in early December.
The six-panel, two-disc digipak will be released November 18, 2022 on her own label, Quinlan Road. The album features 15 seasonal songs performed by McKennitt, interspersed with seasonal readings by Canadian Indigenous actor and Companion of the Order of Canada recipient, Tom Jackson, Gemini Award-winning actor Cedric Smith, and Ojibway artist and flautist Jeffrey Red George. The album will also be released digitally, mixed in Dolby Atmos surround sound.
Beginning December 2 in Stratford, the seasonal concert will be re-staged with its original musicians and narrators. They’ll be taking the ‘Under A Winter’s Moon’ Tour to seven other Ontario cities, including London, Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Peterborough and Kingston, wrapping up in Ottawa on December 17.
“On a handful of winter’s nights close to the solstice of December 2021, my musical friends and I wove this miscellany of music and spoken word,” writes McKennitt in the new album’s liner notes. “…I sought to incorporate elements of the oral traditions found in many cultures – to capture, inspire and reconnect us with our past, while offering a reminder of the people of those times and what their manner of communication meant in their lives and might mean still.”
The first set begins with Jackson reading “The Sky Woman Story”, an Indigenous creation story, while the whole second set embodies Smith’s reading, in six parts, of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, a moving and nostalgic piece of prose by the late Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
Loreena produced the record and in addition to vocals plays harp, keyboard and accordion. She’s accompanied by Caroline Lavelle on cello and recorders, Graham Hargrove on percussion, Errol Fischer on fiddle, Pete Watson on guitar and 12-string bouzouki, and Cait Watson on Irish whistle. All these musicians also added back-up vocals for the performance.
Under A Winter’s Moon was recorded at Knox Church in Stratford, Ontario, Canada then mixed and mastered by multi-award-winning engineer, mixer, producer and editor Jeff Wolpert at Desert Fish in Toronto.
McKennitt’s eclectic Celtic blend of pop, folk and world music has sold over 14 million albums worldwide. Her recordings have achieved Gold, Platinum and multi-Platinum status in 15 countries on four continents. She has twice been nominated for a Grammy Award and has won two Juno Awards, as well as a Billboard International Achievement Award.
She has performed in some of the world’s most-respected and historic concert venues, from Carnegie Hall to the famous Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain and for dignitaries including the late Queen Elizabeth II and His Majesty King Charles III, and other heads of state.
In 2004, McKennitt was awarded the Order of Canada and in 2013 was appointed Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France.
Loreena McKennitt’s ‘Under A Winter’s Moon’ includes the following Canadian dates:
December 2: Stratford, Ontario, Knox Church
December 4: London, Ontario, Metropolitan United Church
December 8: Guelph, Ontario, St. George’s Anglican Church
December 9: Hamilton, Ontario, New Vision United Church
December 10: Toronto, Ontario, East End United Church
December 15: Peterborough, Ontario, Showplace Theatre
December 16: Kingston, Ontario, Isabel Bader Theatre
December 17: Ottawa, Ontario, Christ Church Cathedral