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Metro Interview
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Kindly translated by Eleni Tsagalidou
Old Ways Member

Metro Interview
April 2002

I have interviewed many big “stars” that come to our country. Every interview was based on the same traditional recipe: a greeting, some coffee, 15, the most, minutes of talking, a goodbye and out of the door. I never expected things to change until I met Loreena. We had arranged long ago this interview for Tuesday 10 of April so I couldn’t miss the award of her golden album or the dinner she would give for some journalists the night before the interview. She was sitting beside me and with all the simplicity that distinguishes her she tried to divide her thoughts and time between all the guests expressing her true points of view and not the usual uninteresting things that are said in that kind of occasions. 

We talked about many things that night. So many that I felt filled as a human being and empty as a journalist from questions that I could ask her the next day. I returned home at 4:00 a.m. I was going to meet her at 11:00 a.m. and after a couple of hours I was going to fly all the way to Palestine. Before I met her, I felt that I was a troubled and sensitive person and I was proud of myself about the trip I was going to make. After that acquaintance I felt just a person who is doing her duty because Loreena McKennitt has the sensitivities and social offer as a way of life. And her voice isn’t the only thing that she uses. She spends a lot of money too. The rights of her sales in Greece were given at the Red Cross for the earthquake victims in Athens and Turkey, whereas in Canada the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund For Water Search And Safety does some serious work. She doesn’t make it for appearances but because of what she really is. That is why I took to her immediately. The next morning at the hotel where we met I felt I was talking to an intimate friend of mine. 

Interviewer:  Which is your greatest fear today? 
L.M.: I fear for the planet, the people, the environment, the wild life in the cities. 

Interviewer: And for yourself what do you fear? 
L.M.: Of course I have my own personal needs and worries. Generally, I try to be a balanced person, effective for the universal community and to targets that doesn’t concern only me but the effort of balancing between choices of life and career that we make. You offer much more when you are part of the solution not part of the problem.

Interviewer: A friend of mine and big fan of yours told me that while listening to your music she travels. When you write music, is it your intention to make people travel or does that come at the progress later? 
L.M.: I would say that it is only part of the procedure that I follow. I do my research and afterwards I transmit that research with the shape of songs in a CD. Thus, I have reached traveling writing. I’m not a scholar or an authority, I have passions and I follow them, I travel, read, talk to people and filter all these things to my work. I don’t have from the beginning in my mind the way I would want to be the thing that I create, it is a mere reflection of the journey I have already had.

 Interviewer: Why did you give some of the profits of your album to the Red Cross? 
L.M.: I understood one day that “Live in Paris” could be a recording “money machine” for the financial support of the institution that I founded after my fiancé's death in an accident in 1998. When this recording came out, Greece and Turkey suffered the earthquakes and I felt that it was more proper under these circumstances to give the money for this cause. 

Interviewer: Do you believe that many artists do these kinds of things with their money? 
L.M.: I imagine that this question is based in the hypothesis that artists have a lot of money to do many things. That’s right. Whoever is in an advantageous financial position must find the opportunities to make life better for everyone. When you are in the music area it’s like you have won the lottery. Sure I work hard but so does a great number of people who don’t have my profession and don’t earn the amount of money that I earn. So, I believe that it is a moral responsibility as I earn so much money to contribute to the improvement of the conditions in the community I live. 

Interviewer: Today you are taking part in a concert with famous Greek artists -Maria Farantouri etc- for a great cause. How do you feel about the war in Palestine? 
L.M.: I must admit that I am one of maybe too many North Americans and people universally that didn’t have until now the chance to be informed for all the aspects of this matter and all the historical details. When I came here, I read an article of three pages, which explained the matter with details from every aspect, but I was reserved about participating in any action without making my own research first. From what I can understand the situation is very complex and serious and I feel that mistakes happen from both sides. But my common sense tells me that the Palestinian people are oppressed and in such circumstances the international community -governments or individually at the streets- must have an opinion. I think that the worst thing is to resign from participation. So. I believe that what is happening now in Palestine is wrong and I would like to be part of the pressure that will oblige the international community to take some decisions. It’s an indispensable need to have your own identity. The feeling of the identity is a complex thing. How you define your country. Homeland is where you grow up as a child, your family. One of the most important things to feel your identity is that there exists the natural space that you call country, where your people live and is the place of your culture, your habits, and your traditions. You need that. You cannot have an identity when you are wandering constantly. For that a solution must be given. 

Interviewer: I was impressed when I read about your institute. Was it a need to express your feelings that way for the loss of your fiancé?? 
L.M.: In that kind of situations you feel helpless. You ask “why”, “why to me”, “what did I do”. Difficult questions. But this sense of total incapability of doing something seems to overwhelm you; it’s so absolute, so final. I am, in a way, for another time in a privileged position because, thanks to the success of my career and my finances, I could found a kind of an institution when other people don’t have the sources or the experience. I think that it depends on the moral values of every person to decide to do something. You can do just a small thing it doesn’t have to be an action of majesty but whatever your condition is you can help. Besides, we are a generation that has earned many things from the actions of previous generations and we feel the profits in our everyday life. 

Interviewer: Do you believe in god? 
L.M.: I keep searching. It depends on what someone means with the word “god”. The word is so heavily filled with conclusions. I think that science has tried to explain and describe how things work but from the few things that I have read I understood that scientists explain the “how” -for instance, how the brain functions or what is the procedure to cry- but they cannot explain the “why”. And that is definitely a big question. Some times I feel that if there exists a superior power we are part of an experiment. For now I just feel respect to the universal powers of nature. 

Interviewer: Did you ever wanted to help people and for some reason you didn’t and you felt bad?
L.M.: I constantly look around me and see people suffering… You walk and you see people sleeping on the streets… 

Interviewer: Do you have problems with the homeless people in Canada? 
L.M.: Of course, there is a problem and it’s getting worse every time and it will continue that way as long as the governments continue the massive privatizations -what I have called run away capitalism. And what is happening is, to my opinion, a worse version than that of the communism that the western world criticized, a very limited, without choices society. 

Interviewer: Today in fact without the opposite power things are worse… 
L.M.: There is no balance because there is no variety and variety is one of the basic universal powers. 

Interviewer: If you could with a magic touch change only one thing in the world what would that be?
L.M.: I would wish to be able to increase the capacity of people to understand and feel one another. I wouldn’t want to ask for exaggerated things like for wars not to happen…