Born in rural Manitoba, Canada, Loreena McKennitt studied veterinary medicine before settling into a career in music. After moving to Stratford, Ontario, McKennitt became serious about composing and performing. Her music is recognized for its almost poetical structure that borrows instrumentation and spirit from her Celtic heritage. Along with her own recordings, McKennitt created original music for Stratford's famed Shakespeare Festival. At a time when most artists were either on a major label or their work went unreleased, McKennitt formed her independent Quinlan Road label, beginning with her original cassette, Elemental, in 1985. Recognition grew for her work with albums like Parallel Dreams, The Visit, and The Mask in the Mirror and two JUNO Award wins.
A personal tragedy in the late '90s encouraged McKennitt to turn her energy and business acumen to charity, while still continuing to compose music. Her music has also gained international attention and found its way into a variety of television shows and movies. In 2004, she was made a member of the Order of Canada. McKennitt's most recent CD, An Ancient Muse, reflects on the journey of the nomadic Celts and the many cultural exchanges they made along their way.