Lost Souls, the first original album since 2006 to be released by songstress Loreena McKennitt. A welcomed return to the studio McKennitt paints a deep and moving lyrical picture across the nine songs.
As ever McKennitt draws deep from the well of inspiration. She majestically blends musical tones from Celtic folk, Middle Eastern vibes, and easy listening pop. She achieves this effortlessly with beautiful orchestration, the unification of violin, piano and percussion lays down a base for her vocals to soar and own the lyrics. The mix of instruments used across the album had tonal textures, fun, pathos picking up the tones that shape world music rooted in myths and legends that ground us to our place on the planet.
Opening with Spanish Guitars and Night Plaza’s the phrasing of the guitar strings instantly evoke starry nights and hot days as Moorish culture influence of Spain. This is another place and world that the perfect clarity of Loreena’s vocals cascade across the six strings. The cello weeps into the mix a bass line of shivering emotions we are descending into the worlds of mythic beauty that McKennitt creates effortlessly. Let yourself be swept up in the moment, close out reality and embrace a new truth.
We are now on a journey, of melodic intensity which will be shaped and coloured by the lyrics that are shaped by McKennitt, the first single from the album A Hundred Wishes, treads lightly on your ears with melodic flowing guitar, cello and violin and Loreena on piano. Looking back to warm memories and we hear the many wishes unfold.
Three tracks in and the sound darken with a medieval trance like instrumentation on Ages Past, Ages Present. The piano leading the strings and the Irish Celtic feel walks into the song as we explore castles and landscapes. This is a tapestry on a castle wall coming to life. This is a story unfolding as the music and her voice increase the drama we are wrapped in a vocal onslaught of beauty.
Two tracks that are packed with tradition are The Ballad of The Fox Hunter full of sadness and the instrumental Manx Ayre that is a combining of instruments that are layered and rooted in the musical memories of the world. Pulling together the sound that has gone before and leading us towards the final tracks of the album.
The romantic poet John Keats words are used in La Belle Dame Sans Merci (The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy). Opening with strings we are waiting for the words to be shaped by her voice. Breathy vocals draw us into the words of a poem many of us learnt by heart at school. The words and melody fit perfectly. The lily is shaped and the meeting of the fairy’s child shape the music as we enter the timeless world of faery.
We are transported to the Middle East with the sound of oud and mysterious instrumentational tones with Sun, Moon Starts. The heat of the desert, dancing and then the clarity of a dark desert night lit by stars and the moon. The music is hot, clear and startling in its tonal exquisiteness of the second instrumental track that enlightens the mind’s eye.
The penultimate track, Breaking of the Sword, conjures memories of Arthurian legends. The piano accompanies the vocals in a simple refrain. How life changes as a Mother reflects that despite humble living you were required to serve the King. A song with yearning sadness and the drum roll of Armies marching. Powerful, narrative creates the song that leaves you moved as the Mother sings of her son’s death. The marching relentless beat continues with a bugle call and strings that conjures deep pride amongst the sadness.
The album closes with the title track. “With respect to the title track ‘Lost Souls,’ I was greatly inspired by a book of Ronald Wright’s entitled A Short History of Progress,” comments McKennitt. “He suggests that we as a species may have lost our moral compass with respect to ‘progress’ and that we have become ‘lost souls’.” This is a track that pulls together the whole album full of melodic memories and words that reflect the pain, joy and mysteries of our lives.
Once again on her latest musical masterpiece, Loreena McKennitt the vocal sorceress has woven her magic across nine tracks. We are no longer Lost Souls in her company.
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
Loreena McKennitt – Lost Souls
Lost Souls will be available as a CD, 180-gram vinyl record, and through all music services, including iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.
- Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas
- A Hundred Wishes
- Ages Past, Ages Hence
- A Ballad of the Fox Hunter
- Manx Ayre
- La Belle Dans Sans Merci
- Sun, Moon, Stars
- Breaking of the Sword
- Lost Souls
Loreena McKennitt – Piano and Vocals
Caroline Lavelle – Cello
Hugh Marsh – Violin
Brian Hughes – Guitar
Dudley Phillips – Bass
Robert Brian and Tal Bergman (Drums),
Hossam Ramsey, Graham Hargrove and Rick Lazar (Percussion),
Nigel Eaton (Hurdy Gurdy),
Panos Dimitrakopoulos (Kanoun), Sokratis Sinopoulos (Lyra)
Haig Yazdjian (Oud)
Ana Alcaide (Nyckelharpa)
Daniel Casares (Flamenco Guitars)
Miguel Ortiz Ruvira (Flamenco Percussion)
Recorded Catherine North Studios, Hamilton Canada & Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios Bath, U.K.