Loreena McKennitt – To Drive the Cold Winter Away (1987/2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Loreena McKennitt – To Drive the Cold Winter Away (1987/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 45:29 minutes | 927 MB | Genre: Folk, Celtic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Quinlan Road

Loreena’s second, self-produced recording presents seasonal music with a fresh and serendipitous approach. This collection of traditional and lesser-known winter and Christmas carols was recorded in 1987 on location at The Church Of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, and, in Ireland, a Benedictine monastery and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

“As a child, my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols recorded in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition. In that spirit, I have ventured into several similar locations that I have come to cherish in my travels … The arrangements are sparse, but somehow I felt that reflected the dynamics of the fall and winter seasons, and that there can be much beauty in such simplicity. As it is recorded on location, you may occasionally hear sounds of life continuing on around us. We hope these are not distracting, but rather are embraced like flecks of straw in the wool sweater your grandmother might have knitted to keep the cold winter away.”
– Loreena McKennitt

Recorded in various halls and abbeys in Ireland, and completed in the Church of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, harpist/arranger/vocalist Loreena McKennitt’s first foray into the crowded field of holiday music — she would go on to release an EP called Winter Garden in 1995 — is steeped in old-world atmosphere. To Drive the Cold Winter Away celebrates the winter solstice through eight traditional English, Scottish, and Irish carols and ballads and two Mckennitt originals. The artist’s reverence for her source material is moving, and her meticulous yet simple arrangements help tracks such as “The Wexford Carol,” “The Kings,” and “Let Us the Infant Greet” resonate with all of the grace and piousness that the lyrics and poems strive for. McKennitt has succeeded in making a beautiful, haunting, and ambitious yuletide song cycle that despite taking itself a little too seriously, ranks among her finest. -James Christopher Monger

1. Loreena McKennitt – In Praise of Christmas
2. Loreena McKennitt – The Seasons
3. Loreena McKennitt – The King
4. Loreena McKennitt – Banquet Hall
5. Loreena McKennitt – Snow
6. Loreena McKennitt – Balulalow
7. Loreena McKennitt – Let Us the Infant Greet
8. Loreena McKennitt – The Wexford Carol
9. Loreena McKennitt – The Stockford Carol
10. Loreena McKennitt – Let All That Are to Mirth Inclined