The Mask and Mirror

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The Mask and Mirror
Album Cover-The Mask and Mirror.jpg
Studio album by Loreena McKennitt
Released March 15, 1994[1][2]
Genre Folk, World music
Length 52:46
Label Quinlan Road, Warner Bros.
Producer Loreena McKennitt
Loreena McKennitt chronology
The Visit
(1991)The Visit1991
The Mask and Mirror
Live in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts
(1995)Live in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]

The Mask and Mirror is an album by Loreena McKennitt. Released in 1994, the album has been certified Gold in the United States.[4]


Like most of Loreena McKennitt's albums, The Mask and Mirror is heavily influenced by her travels. Her experiences in Spain and Morocco, specifically, serve as the inspiration for this album.

As her introduction to the album, McKennitt wrote:

I looked back and forth through the window of 15th century Spain, through the hues of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and was drawn into a fascinating world: history, religion, cross-cultural fertilization....For some medieval minds the mirror was the door through which the soul frees itself by passing.... for others the pursuit of personal refinement was likened to polishing the mirror of the soul. From the more familiar turf of the west coast of Ireland, through the troubadours of France, crossing over the Pyrenees, and then to the west through Galicia, down through Andalusia and past Gibraltar to Morocco....the Crusades, the pilgrimage to Santiago, Cathars, the Knights Templar, the Sufis from Egypt, One Thousand and One Nights in Arabia, the Celtic imagery of trees, the Gnostic Gospels...who was God? and what is religion, what spirituality? What was revealed and what was concealed...and what was the mask and what the mirror?[citation needed]

Accompanying all the selections, as the liner remarks, are some of the entries in a traveler's log that McKennitt kept all throughout her journey.

The album's cover uses a collage made from the medieval The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries.


Loreena McKennitt wrote all the songs except as noted.

  1. "The Mystic's Dream" – 7:40
  2. "The Bonny Swans" (lyrics: traditional, arr. McKennitt, music by McKennitt) – 7:18
  3. "The Dark Night of the Soul" (lyrics by St. John of the Cross, OCD; arr. McKennitt; music by McKennitt) – 6:44
  4. "Marrakesh Night Market" – 6:30
  5. "Full Circle" – 5:57
  6. "Santiago" (traditional, arr. McKennitt) – 5:58
  7. "Cé Hé Mise le Ulaingt?/The Two Trees" (lyrics by W. B. Yeats, music by McKennitt) The opening of this song is "Cé Hé Mise Le Ulaingt" ("Who am I to Bear It"). It was written and performed by Patrick Hutchinson ( on Uilleann pipes . The second part of the song is Loreena's version of "The Two Trees. Hence the two titles – 9:06
  8. "Prospero's Speech" (lyrics by William Shakespeare, arr. McKennitt, music by McKennitt) – 3:23

Song details[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[5] 21
Dutch Albums Chart[6] 54
Germany Albums Chart[7] 18
New Zealand Albums Chart[8] 15
Spanish Albums Chart[9] 6
Swedish Albums Chart[10] 25
US Billboard 200[11] 143
US World Albums[12] 1
US New Age Albums[12] 7


  1. ^ "McKennitt to perform in Stratford". Waterloo Region Record (Ontario, Canada) (Published as Record, The (Kitchner, Ontario, Canada)). 1994-02-08. p. D6. supporting her CD The Mask and the Mirror scheduled for a March 15 release 
  2. ^ Blackwell, Tom (1994-03-15). "An oasis: McKennitt's new release has Spanish, African flavors". Waterloo Region Record (Ontario, Canada) (Published as Record, The (Kitchner, Ontario, Canada)). p. D5. McKennitt's guitarist played it on The Mask and Mirror, and the lilting sounds of Spain and North Africa are woven throughout the record, which is to be released today. 
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  5. ^ " - Loreena McKennitt - The Mask And Mirror". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  6. ^ " - Loreena McKennitt - The Mask And Mirror". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  7. ^ " - Chartverfolgung - MCKENNITT,LOREENA - THE MASK AND MIRROR". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  8. ^ " - Loreena McKennitt - The Mask And Mirror". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  9. ^ "Hits of the World: Spain". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 106 (16): 55. 1994-05-16. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  10. ^ " - Loreena McKennitt - The Mask And Mirror". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  11. ^ "The Mask and Mirror - Loreena McKennitt". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  12. ^ a b