On My Many Favourite Red-Haired Musicians From Different Times in My Life – pt. 2

Photo by Jez Elliott

(Continued from Part 1)

I’ve previously blogged about the surplus of redheaded singer-songwriters in my music collection.

Specifically, the fact that, during three key periods of my life, one of my favourite recording artists—if not the favourite—was a woman with red hair.

I’ve already covered my early youth stage from ages 8-12.  It’s now time to examine my teenage years and beyond.

Early to late teens

Loreena McKennitt

I was introduced to the music of Canadian-born folk/Celtic/world singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt by my sister, which was unusual because my sister didn’t (and still doesn’t) own a single McKennitt album.  I don’t even think she could name one of her songs if pressed to do so.

I really believe my sister just liked saying the artist’s name (it does have a lovely rhythm to it).  Or perhaps she genuinely thought I’d appreciate her music since I was also a long-time Enya fan.

(McKennitt’s and Enya’s music bear almost no similarities, in my opinion, but many people seem to consider them of a like, New Age-y type).

In any case, I became a huge fan.  Loreena McKennitt’s albums (currently some eight or so studio recordings, plus a number of live recordings and compilations) were among the first I ever owned on CD and purchased myself (my very first CD, incidentally, was by Enya).

I’ve always enjoyed studying to McKennitt’s music, and also writing to it, since high school is where the writing bug first bit me hard.

Her music even helped inspire some of my writing—in my grade 10 drama class, I wrote, directed, and performed in a silent play set to one of her songs.

And I’ve blogged before about how her 1991 breakthrough album The Visit—both the music itself and the uplifting message in the liner notes—helped keep me motivated over the long years of completing the first draft of my historical fiction trilogy.

(Interestingly, a lot of fantasy authors published in the mid-1990s and early 2000s cited this same album as a major inspiration for their work and/or success.  I did start off writing fantasy, so I suppose I fit the demographic, save my still being unpublished.)

Favourite song: It’s a really hard choice, especially given how her style has changed over the years from traditional Celtic, to New Age-y Celtic folk, to a more world-infused Celtic sound that I really like.

From her 1997 album The Book of Secrets, I really enjoy the track instrumental “Marco Polo”—not because I have any affinity to the eponymous personage himself, but rather the track’s rhythmic, upbeat, fusion of Celtic and Middle Eastern influences.


BONUS: “Heron ‘Beltane’ Fire Dance.  This is the song I set my silent play to.


BONUS #2: One of the standout tracks from The Visit—McKennitt’s gorgeous, 11-minute-long rendition of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s famous poem “The Lady of Shalott”

Late teens/early 20s and onward

Tori Amos

I’ve written many times about Tori Amos: her alt-rock piano virtuosity; her eccentricity; her at times odd inflection when she sings; her songs so laden with symbolism that their full meanings are often inaccessible; her use of music as a vehicle for feminism, social commentary, and social justice; the fact that she’s written songs about numerous aspects of the female experience; and the fact that were I minded to worship a goddess, she’d be a strong contender for the position.

My love affair with Amos began in high school with her 1991 debut album, Little Earthquakes.  Already second-hand when I bought it, I played that CD literally to death and eventually had to replace it.

Fifteen studio albums later, my love endures evermore.

Favourite song: I’ve blogged before about my quest to discover my favourite Tori song.  I stand by the choice of “Oysters”, but honestly, she has so many songs that are just so good, I might have to write another post with my top ten favourites!


BONUS: One of my oldest favourite Tori songs is from Little Earthquakes—“Tear in My Hand”, a deceptively upbeat song about being dumped that I’ve loved for some 22 years!

(Image source)

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