The Mask and the Mirror Album Review

Buy at Amazon


I don’t remember exactly how I discovered this album. I think it was playing in some store while I was browsing for something else. Regardless, I was so entranced, I bought it on the spot (with my own money – I was 13 at the time) and have been a fan ever since.

Loreena McKennit masterfully blends historical and ethnic influences, including Celtic, Arabic, and Spanish, ethereal vocals, and instruments ranging from the piano and harp to the uillean pipes, dumbeg, tabla, and oud to create music that is almost literally transporting. Listening, you only have to close your eyes for your imagination to whisk you off to Morocco or Spain or Celtic Britain.

My rating: (5 / 5)

Track By Track

The Mystic’s Dream – The first song I heard, and still my favorite. Simply gorgeous.

The Bonny Swans – An adaptation of a classic ballad. Not my favorite song on the album, simply because the song itself is so gruesome.

The Dark Night of the Soul – As a teenager, I didn’t like this one and often skipped it, but it has since grown on me. It’s an adaptation of a poem by the mystic St. John of the Cross about his love for God.

Marrakesh Night Market – In contrast to the serene, contemplative tone of The Dark Night of the Soul, this song is energetic and atmospheric. You can almost feel the whirl of activity around you.

Full Circle – Peaceful.

Santiago – A lively, unusual song with vocals but no lyrics, Loreena’s voice used as another instrument itself.

Cé Hé Mise Le Ulaingt? / The Two Trees – A beautiful Celtic-inspired song, paired with the words of Yeats

Prospero’s Speech – Loreena’s high, clear soprano works surprisingly well for this adaptation of one of Prospero’s speeches from The Tempest

Buy at Amazon


  1. […] Cruel Sisters – A retelling of the same legend told in Loreena McKennit’s The Bonny Swans. […]