the book of secrets

Some things just never grow old no matter how many times you listen to or read them or view them.  Camille Pissaro’s landscapes, Gerard de Nerval’s poems, and Loreena McKennitt’s music.  We all have our favorites–and sometimes we shuffle these from time to time, adding and subtracting, changing rankings as we discover new creations. Yet some things never get too far from our reach.  Now of all the lovely music McKennitt has tossed upon the ears of the world, my remaing favorite is the album “the book of secrrets”. Its exotic silk road discovery flavor is what brings me back again and again.  Mummers, priests and lovers ride the music from the past into our present again and again with their stories.  It was strange hearing The HighwayMan for the first time since reading the Noyes’ poem a lifetime ago in the fourth grade.  The ultimate poem of lovers willing to die for each  other? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But Mckennitt sings fresh life into the story of black eyed Bess and her ever loving  handsome theif. Other songs based on inspiration from her own travels to distant lands physically and intellectually reveal some taste of what an ‘ungobalized’, un-uniform world has to offer from culture to culture.  In its own way “the book of secrets” is a paean to the virtues of multiculturalism with all its artistic riches.  Like Marco Polo and the Irish priests of Bobbio, McKennitt searches out the exquistic arts of ‘new’ lands with ancient histories–and makes it all her own while retaining essences that entice the ears again and again.


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