Friday, November 14, 2008

The Aristocrats: The Lady of Shalott

Loreena McKennitt: The Lady of Shalott


No week of songs about aristocrats could be complete without a tale from the Arthurian legends. Here, after all, we have a set of tales in which almost no common folk appear.

I’m sure that most readers are familiar with the main outline of the story of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. But the Arthurian legends also encompass a large number of side stories. In particular, when the knights scatter throughout the countryside in search of the Holy Grail, each knight has his own adventures. “The Lady of Shalott” is the tale of what happens to Sir Lancelot during this time. The telling used here is by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Loreena McKennitt is a Canadian artist with a beautiful, almost operatic, soprano voice which she knows how to use to best affect. She plays harp, piano, and other keyboards. Her music can be found under new age or Celtic or world music; all of those labels have some validity, but none do justice to her music.

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