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Touring Is An Endurance Test For McKennitt

Of the Oakland Press

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Loreena McKennitt takes her art seriously — one of the reasons there was a nine-year gap leading up to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s 2006 album, “An Ancient Muse.”

But when she hits the road, McKennitt considers it “an athletic event first and then ... an artistic one.”

“It’s very grueling, without question,” says the 50-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Stratford, Ontario, who began her explorations into world music styles with 1985’s “Elemental.” She’s best known in the pop mainstream for her 1987 hit “The Mummer’s Dance.”

“It’s a challenge, certainly, in terms of protecting the integrity of my ability to perform quite steadily. We’ll do three nights, have a day, which is often a travel day, then do four nights. And this can go on for weeks and months.

“But we’re having a really great time. There’s nine other musicians. The whole touring party is about 33, 34 people. But everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.”

That’s a good thing, since McKennitt — who recently released the CD/DVD live set “Nights From the Alhambra” — says “it’s quite possible we will be touring” into the new year. But she’s also eyeballing her next recording projects, which include music for the Disney animated film “Tinkerbell” and for a documentary on harems in the Ottoman Empire.

“I quite like these other kinds of projects,” says McKennitt, whose music has also appeared in “The Mists of Avalon” and the TV series “Legacy.” “They challenge my creativity in another kind of way. Certainly there are more predetermined creative parameters one must work within.

“But unless they’re unusually restrictive or away from the musical output I am likely to deliver, it often is quite interesting. I could see myself perhaps working more and more in film in the future.”

Loreena McKennitt performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 16)at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $69.50, $49.50 and $39.50. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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