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Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

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World - Released May 11, 2018 | Quinlan Road

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The Canadian singer/songwriter's first full-length collection of original material since 2006's Ancient Muse, Lost Souls sees Loreena McKennitt delivering another richly detailed and alluringly cinematic set of worldbeat-infused, modern-folk pieces that hearken back to career-defining albums like The Visit, The Mask and Mirror, and The Book of Secrets. It's the latter LP that's echoed the most -- McKennitt states in the liner notes that a number of the songs were written around the time of The Visit -- with the elegant balladry of "Lost Souls" and the moving Canadian Forces Central Band and Stratford Concert Choir-assisted "Breaking of the Sword" invoking that album's emotional high point: Her lush musical rendering of the Alfred Tennyson poem "Lady of Shalott." Once again, McKennitt looks to poetry for inspiration, with W.B.Yeats and John Keats providing the narratives for "The Ballad of the Fox Hunter" and "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," respectively, while she cites the works of authors Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees) and Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress) as the motivation behind the evocative and ecologically minded "Ages Past, Ages Hence." While McKennitt continues to incorporate Galician and Middle Eastern themes into her work -- opener "Spanish Guitars & Night Plazas" builds to a lovely flamenco crescendo, and "Sun, Moon, & Stars" invokes the sights, sounds, and smells of a Moroccan bazaar -- the bulk of Lost Souls is spent wandering the English countryside. It makes sense, as McKennitt's early work was predominantly Celtic in nature, and despite a dizzying area of exotic instrumentation -- nyckelharpa, oud, kanoun, lyra, hurdy gurdy, etc. -- it's clear that the rolling hills and temperate moors of the United Kingdom, as well as the extensive vistas of her Canadian homeland, are where her heart resides. ~ James Christopher Monger
CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

Loreena McKennitt's fourth release, and first for a major label, is a quietly majestic tapestry of worldbeat and Celtic pop that effortlessly weaves together traditional and contemporary songs into lush showcases for her fluid voice and harp. The multi-talented Canadian utilizes all of her strengths here, resulting in her most rewarding batch of tunes to date. With larger production values and more ambitious arrangements than the sparse Elemental and Parallel Dreams, her flair for the dramatic and the theatrical runs rampant throughout. Whether she's toasting the souls of the departed with Pagan glee on the delicious "All Souls Night," or reinterpreting King Henry VIII's "Greensleeves" through Tom Waits, it's never without both feet in the water. Often when artists attempt to blend modern instruments (keyboards, guitars, etc.) into the traditional folk idiom, the results are instantly dated and horribly overwrought. McKennitt, however, never allows the two to compete, and it's a testament to her belief in the songs themselves that they don't devolve into garish new age drivel. Her adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott," which utilizes an opening melody lifted -- probably unknowingly -- from the bagpipe solo at the end of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)," is The Visit's most powerful moment. Clocking in at 11 minutes, the poet's lovelorn tale of Camelot's most famous peasant maiden is rendered brief by McKennitt's breathless delivery and atmospheric and austere presentation. The Visit is Loreena McKennitt at her most comfortable, creative, and soulful. ~ James Christopher Monger
CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

CD£8.63

Celtic - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

HI-RES£11.50
CD£8.63

World - Released March 7, 2014 | Quinlan Road

Hi-Res