When I saw the press release for this book I knew that I had to read it. Mired in controversy, this book has created waves with serious consequences to anyone involved with journalism. With the ink barely dry on the first court case lawyers are already running to judges citing McKennitt v Ash in order to prevent embarrassing articles being published.

Niema Ash was a long time friend, traveling companion, and confidant of Celtic Superstar Loreena McKennitt and in Travels she chronicles both Loreena’s rise to fame from very humble beginnings, and also her developing friendship with the diva.

This book is easily segmented into three sections, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Travels is a most apt title to use, much of the first half of the book chronicles life on the road, either as friends vacationing and exploring the mysteries of exotic places, or as part of the Loreena McKennitt entourage romping around the world. It is fascinating to travel along as a passenger watching Loreena as she transitions from street musician to Celtic Goddess. Niema Ash  and her long time companion Tim are drawn into the whirlwind that is the music industry. Long hours on the road, grueling schedules, and the inevitable hassles that occur are all hurdles that this happy group of friends easily overcome.

Alas fame and fortune comes at a price, and often that can be a very high price. In the second part of Travels we start to see a darker side of the Celtic diva. On the stage we have an angelic and mesmerizing performer, in private we find a hard nosed business woman who vacillates between genteel companion to wailing banshee. Little by little the cracks in the friendship start to appear.

The final part of the book is definitely the downright ugly. We see a side of Loreena McKennitt that makes me shudder. We watch Loreena move into the ‘punishment’ phase. For non compliance both Niema and Tim are not just tossed aside, but actively persecuted. Using a legal team that comes from the O.J. Simpson school of creative lawyering Loreena sets about trying to ruin Niema and Tim financially.

This is a must read book. I found it deeply disturbing, and if there is a lesson to be learned it is ‘money does not buy happiness’. McKennitt has done her utmost to prevent publication of this book, and in fact is still trying to do that. I normally would add an Amazon link so that people can purchase a book, and indeed there is an Amazon link to Travels, but don’t try to buy it. McKennitts 800 pound gorilla lawyers have leaned on the printer and distributor, and they have ceased distribution fearing legal action. So if you want a copy you will have to get it direct from Niema. Oh, and order soon, she only has a limited supply and no way to get more printed.

Simon Barrett



Be Sociable, Share!