Canadian artist Loreena McKennitt (b. 1957) has become famous as a singer, composer, pianist, and harpist. However, to most people, she is best known for her soprano voice. She has often been compared to the Irish singer Enya, but McKennitt's music is more embedded in ancient Celtic and Middle Eastern traditions.
An Ancient Muse
"The Gates of Istanbul" is featured on "An Ancient Muse", an album released in 2006 after many years of little public musical activity by McKennitt. The album features nine songs with various influences. In the album liner notes, McKennitt describes it as an "exploration of the Celts and their history", leading to many places across the globe as she journeys along the ancient Silk Road. Thus, "An Ancient Muse" takes you to places in Outer Mongolia, Northwest China, Anatolia, and Ephesus in Turkey as well as the Greek Island of Chios. And, of course, Istanbul.
The Gates of Istanbul
Recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, this track is of excellent recording quality. Despite the "large" sound all details and individual instruments are easily distinguished. Still, together they make a very impressive image and a coherent mix.
Notwithstanding the somewhat exotic mix of instruments used; listen for the oud, the Celtic and Greek bouzouki, the lyra, and other more common instruments in modern-day pop music. But most of all, McKennitts's voice: throughout the song it stands out, clear and expressive.
More on Loreena McKennitt, music and the album on quinlanroad.com.