The Mask and Mirror

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The Mask and Mirror
Album Cover-The Mask and Mirror.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 22, 1994[1][2]
GenreFolk, world music
LabelQuinlan Road, Warner Bros.
ProducerLoreena McKennitt
Loreena McKennitt chronology
The Visit
The Mask and Mirror
Live in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts
Professional ratings
Review scores

The Mask and Mirror is the fifth studio 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 the lyrics and composed the music for 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" in Irish). 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

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[13] Gold 30,000^
Australia (ARIA)[14] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[15] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[16] Gold 100,000*
Germany 85,000[17]
Italy (FIMI)[18] Platinum 100,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[19] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] Gold 795,000[20]
Worldwide 1,600,000[18]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  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
  13. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  14. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Loreena McKennitt – The Mask And Mirror". Music Canada. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  16. ^ "French album certifications – Loreena McKennitt – The mask and mirror" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  17. ^ "McKennitt Breaks In Germany". Billboard. 9 July 1994. p. 44. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  18. ^ a b "McKennnit to unleash 'Book of Secrets'". Billboard. 23 August 1997.
  19. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. 2005. ISBN 8480486392.
  20. ^ "World's greatest". Billboard. 16 June 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  21. ^ "American album certifications – Loreena Mc Kennitt – The Mask And Mirror". Recording Industry Association of America.