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Loreena McKennitt, making celtic connections at Royal Albert Hall, and the audience was ecstatic / theartsdesk

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Having long been immersed in folk and world music and acoustically-oriented singer-songwriters, it's a surprise to be given a CD by someone who's never crossed your radar, especially when the artist concerned turns out to have sold some 14 million albums, though mostly in Europe and North America. It's probably the case that Loreena McKennitt's considerable following owes to word-of-mouth, for the music-loving friend who gifted me her 1994 album The Mask and The Mirror had been put on to her by a friend in Europe. Instantly hooked, I explored further, giving her live 2006 CD/DVD set Nights at The Alhambra to three people that Christmas of 2017.

Last year, McKennitt released her tenth album, Lost Souls, and this week she's been on a rare tour in Britain, where she played four gigs before boarding her tour bus and heading through the tunnel for a score of dates, from Amsterdam to Zabrze. There was no discernible pre-tour fanfare yet on Wednesday at the Royal Albert Hall – not completely sold out, Choir and Balcony deemed surplus to requirements – the audience was ecstatic.  PHOTO: Richard Haughton