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The Wind That Shakes The Barley

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Audio CD, November 16, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

2010 release from the Canadian New Age artist. With her refined harpestry, angelic voice, and melodious compositions, Loreena McKennitt infuses Celtic and New Age sounds with a mix of influences as diverse as Moroccan, Greek, Turkish, Indian, Native American, and Italian. McKennitt's worldwide record sales currently total over 14 million.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B0043ZDU1E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,723 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

170 of 173 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
There has always been a heavy Celtic influence on Loreena McKennit's music, right back to the beginning of her career. But "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" may be her most Celtic album to date -- a collection of nine Celtic folk songs, driven by McKennitt's powerful voice and some beautiful traditional instrumentation.

It opens with a hearty rendition of "As I Roved Out," a ballad about a young soldier secretly meeting his lover one night, which is a pretty earthy peppy song for the usually ethereal McKennitt. And in the same tone, there's the bodhran-tinged melody of "The Star of the Country Down," and the silvery-edged earthiness of "Brian Boru's March."

McKennit sounds more at home in the slower songs: the harp melody of "On A Bright May Morning," the melancholy afternoon ballad "Down By The Sally Gardens," the tragic string-laden title ballad, the melancholy wobbles of "The Death of Queen Jane," and the languid instrumental "The Immigration Tunes."

Best moment in the album: the fairylike shimmers of the final song, "The Parting Glass" (complete with McKennitt's whispered, "... that I should rise/and you should not/I'll gently rise and softly call/Good night and joy be with you all").

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is a pretty good glimpse of Celtic music as a whole -- there are peppy songs about pretty girls and Irish lads falling in love, but underneath the surface there is blood, tragedy and powerful emotions. It makes you think of early mornings in the forest, cloudy skies and a gentle rain on green fields that stretch out to the sea.

Unlike in McKennitt's other albums, there isn't any Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean influence in these songs.
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By KindlePad VINE VOICE on November 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
As a long time LK fan I had no idea this CD was coming out. This release evokes memories of her earlier commercial works when Loreena was mainly a Celtic artist. Over the years she evolved her music into a more worldly, more unique sound. Her "ancient muse" cd was a perfect example of that, having elements of many cultures but yet very much an original sound on it's own.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley contains 9 beautiful celtic pieces. It seemed odd to be listening to Loreena performing just celtic pieces again, and I wondered if this were a cd of unreleased tracks maybe? I don't know. I found it perfectly produced and her voice is as clear and strong as ever. If anything, I found it too short and immediately put it on again for a re-listen.

If you are a fan of her earlier work, this is a fantastic album in that vein. Even tho I much prefer her newer, more "worldly" sound, I still enjoyed this immensely. She is an artist who clearly labors over each song and each album and that come through so strongly in a release such as this.

Edit: I am also surprised there seems to be no MP3 / digital version for sale. I sent a link to a friend to buy and we could not find a digital version for sale here on Amazon or via another service. Odd. Maybe it is forthcoming.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Quo Primum on November 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD should surprise those who have been accustomed to the style of the last several cds,and I doubt this will disappoint. It is lovely, with her lilting voice, equally capable with the sorrowful tunes and the peaceful ones. These songs are quieter than those on Alhambra, and since her voice does not have to compete with the drums (hardly any drums in these songs at all) you can really enjoy the purity of her voice. What a pleasure to sit back and listen to, and be jealous of;)

The songs are traditional celtic pieces that Loreena has arranged and she accompanies 4 of them on harp. I think this instrument displays her skill as a musician best and it is not drowned out by loud accoustics.

One of the songs is a tune that she has on her Christmas CD. Here she has used entirely new words, so it is no longer a "Christmas" song. It is pretty - just surprising to have such a radically different story!

She is joined by some of the best musicians and they contribute to making this an enjoyable CD - perfect for relaxing or even listening while you work. Hugh Marsh is again on violin, and I love this man's skill. It would be terrific to see a "Devil Went Down to Georgia" type competition with Itzhac Perlman, another favorite violinist of mine. I don't suppose someone could arrange it? And Caroline Lavelle makes the cello absolutely buttery smooth.

Digressing a bit, I hope that Peter Jackson, now filming the Hobbit, will listen to this music and and realize that Loreena McKennitt is actually part Elvish, and give her a cameo appearance (with music) in the House of Elrond. There is great music and story telling in that great hall, and Loreena should be a shoe-in.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By bob hallford on November 17, 2010
Format: Audio CD
loreena touches the soul. her voice takes music to the level of art as no other in the business can. this, i think, is because to her music is art and business is a byproduct. do not disect or analize what you are hearing, just listen and let it take you. the celtic roots run deep, as does the artistry. one of loreenas' strong points is that she surrounds herself with some of the best musicians in the business. brian hughes, hugh marsh, caroline lavelle et all are specatular. this recording is a most welcome addition to the soundtrack of my life and will add a richness and beauty to yours as well. listen, absorbe, enjoy!
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Finally, an album that contains songs we don't already have!
Absolutely! Love this lady!
Oct 11, 2010 by Bartholomew |  See all 17 posts
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the wind that shakes the barley ... please !
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