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Loreena McKennitt at the Michigan Theater -- 5 things to know

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

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Loreena McKennitt is making plenty of news with her current concert tour.

The ethereal Celtic singer and songwriter from Stratford, Ont., has stripped back her usual ensemble to an intimate trio, for a show that focuses on her travels -- through Ireland as well as Istanbul, Morocco, Greece and elsewhere. The show also celebrates the 25th anniversary of her gold-certified fourth album "The Visit."

So the multi-instrumentalist is carefully straddling the present and the past this year. And, McKennitt says by phone from Stratford, she's enjoying it a great deal.

The trio format is a new challenge that McKennitt, 59, has wholeheartedly embraced. "It's nice to perform in this modality for a change," she acknowledges. "It just changes the focus for everyone, for those of us performing on the stage as well as for the audience. It's a bit more about the content of the performances, more focused on my travels and research into some of the songs and the experiences I've had. There's a bit more context to it. People get to know more, and they get to know me better -- to the degree to which they desire."

As for "The Visit's" silver anniversary, McKennitt says that "it is remarkable to think it's been that many years. There are certainly a number of pieces that we're performing that come from the seminal recording. I'm just happy it connected in such a way that people still want to hear that music all these years later."

McKennitt, whose last studio album came out in 2010, does have an idea for what she wants to do next. "I did do a research trip for the next chapter of the story of the Celts when i was in northern India a few years ago, so there's a whole wealth of ideas," she says.

However, McKennitt isn't sure that the music industry of today can adequately serve the kind of grand, conceptual albums he's used to making. "There's no question that the framework of the business is just a disaster zone," she says. "The whole middle class of artists has pretty much disappeared. If you have the very big entities like my fellow Stratfordian Justin Bieber, yes, and you have people on the other end who are happy to do it for very little money, before they have a family. But for my career, it's very much on my mind. I have grave reservations about this technological tsunami we've been put through. I just see it as catastrophic on every level."

So about that Bieber guy..."I've not met him," McKennitt says. "Of course, he's been to the same ice cream joint I go to. He comes come to visit family, I think. But I've not met him."

Loreena McKennitt

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann ARbor

Tickets are $35-$99.50.

Call 734-668-8397 or visit michtheater.org.

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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