Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Happy Birthday, Loreena McKennitt!
Like many people, I'm a big fan of the multi-talented Celtic singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt. But not everyone knows that she was born and raised in my home province of Manitoba. Yay, Manitoba! On this date in 1957, she was born in Morden, which is a small farming community located one hour south of Winnipeg near the U.S. border. She lived in Manitoba until moving to Stratford, Ontario in 1981, which is still her home base.
Around 1980 when I was a university student in Winnipeg, everyone was raving about a fabulous young harpist who was playing in the Drummer Boy Lounge at the Hotel Fort Garry. No one knew her name, but they all said "Hey, get this -- she's from Morden!"
The Drummer Boy Lounge was much too swanky for my starving student lifestyle in those days, so I never did see the wonderful unnamed harpist. Years later, however, I put two-and-two together and realized she must have been Loreena McKennitt. What a missed opportunity!
I've always followed Loreena McKennitt's career with great interest. She has known great professional triumph due to her amazing talent and incredible hard work. She has also known great personal loss. In 1998, her fiance died in a tragic boating accident on Georgian Bay. Recently, she was forced to take legal action in England against a former trusted friend and employee who published a book full of personal details and intimate information. Refusing to back down, Loreena pursued her case all the way to the highest British court. The court confirmed her right to privacy and set a valuable legal precedent to protect other celebrities in the future.