Songstress returns to Celtic roots

Also out this week — and file her under the Artists You Need To Know heading — is Loreena McKennitt’s latest, “The Wind That Shakes The Barley,” a fine return to classic Celtic form for this quiet Canadian folkie.

Her fans asked for it — an album full of traditionals such as “As I Roved Out,” “The Parting Glass” and “The Star Of The County Down.” And the singer — whose voice rings like a rich, chiming church bell — was happy to oblige. But she did it in her own idiosyncratic fashion.

To really get that woodsy feel, McKennitt chose to record last summer at the Temple of the Children of Peace, a hand-crafted wooden structure with incredible acoustics outside of Toronto. The architecture itself inspired the sessions, as did being surrounded by the vibrant flora and fauna of the wilderness area itself. She even included an original take on the genre, her own “The Emigration Tunes,” which touches on Irish-Canadian history, circa the notorious 1840s famines.

Hear her once, and you’ll understand why this classy Juno-winning diva has even entertained the Queen of England.

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