McKennitt celebrates return to iconic Royal Albert Hall
Opened for Mike Oldfield in 1993, now she’s headlining
STRATFORD, ON – Twenty-six years ago, a relatively-unknown Loreena McKennitt opened for famed British musician-composer Mike Oldfield at Royal Albert Hall – and under fascinating circumstances. Now, she’s coming back. But this time she’s the main act and returns as a multi-award winning Canadian singer-songwriter-musician who has since sold more than 14 million records worldwide.
The March 13th concert is part of McKennitt’s Lost Souls Spring Tour. As well as the accomplished artists already on her 2019 European tour (three of whom are U.K.-based), the Albert Hall show will include five special guest artists, who McKennitt has brought in to celebrate her long journey back to the historic and prestigious venue.
Renowned Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy, who has played with the likes of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel and Shakira, will be one of them. The concert will also feature Daniel Casares, of Spain, one of the top flamenco guitarists in the world. Canadians Ben Grossman will play hurdy-gurdy, bodhran, accordion and percussion, and Ian Harper will play Uilleann pipes, bombard, the Turkish clarinet, flutes and whistles. Adding to this exotic chemistry will be Spanish musician Ana Alcaide on nyckelharpa.
“The road to Royal Albert Hall began in 1993 when I got a call from Warner Music Canada, my record company at the time, asking if I’d open for Mike Oldfield on his Tubular Bells II tour,” recalls McKennitt. “I was actually in Morocco doing research for The Mask and Mirror and coincidentally had left my harp in London. I said I would do it as long as I could sell my CDs at the venues and pamphlets would be placed on the seats explaining who I was. At first, we were playing small arenas, but then we wove our way to Royal Albert Hall where there was insufficient staff to put the pamphlets on all 5,000 seats. Much to my surprise, both my mother and aunt had flown in from Canada to celebrate my appearance at this prestigious hall and in the end, the three of us spent the two afternoons placing pamphlets on the seats ourselves.” (The concerts were April 5th and 6th 1993.)
Lost Souls, released in May 2018, is McKennitt’s first recording of original songs since 2006. It is, as The Times recently reported, “suffused with a mood of Celtic folk classicism that is undoubtedly calming, possibly enriching and, in its own unfashionable way, appealingly unpretentious”. In 2018, the album hit Number 5 on the charts in Germany, where Classic Rock magazine wrote, “You can only name a few artists who managed to build their own world…Loreena McKennitt has her own rules in space and time.”
Once the spring and summer tours are over McKennitt will have performed for over 100,000 people and many of shows are already sold out.
Royal Albert Hall, first opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, has hosted many of the world’s leading artists. The grand, roughly 5,000-seat hall has been awarded International Venue of the Year multiple times.
This spring McKennitt embarks on a 25-concert, ten-country spring tour and a 22-concert, five-country summer tour. The shows will include songs from Lost Souls – songs which have never before been performed live in Europe. Accompanying her on the tours will be fellow musicians Brian Hughes on guitars, oud and Celtic bouzouki, Caroline Lavelle (U.K.) on cello, Hugh Marsh (Canada/U.K.) on violin, Dudley Philips (U.K.) on double bass and Robert Brian (U.K.) on drums and percussion.
Loreena 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.
Read Loreena McKennitt’s full biography here.
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Royal Albert Hall – Krug100
Hossam Ramzy – Hossam Ramzy
Daniel Casares – Luis Castilla
Ben Grossman – Icon Photography
Ana Alcaide – Lucia Hererro
Ian Harper – Dreamsttiem @Photowitch
1993 Poster – mike-oldfield.es
Brian Hughes – Pamela Hughes
Caroline Lavelle – Elena Orso Giacone
Hugh Marsh – Jen Squires
Dudley Phillips – Carl Hyde
Robert Brian – James Taylor