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Loreena McKennitt Lost Souls (May 4, 2018)

Loreena McKennitt — Lost Souls (May 4, 2018)

               Loreena McKennitt — Lost Souls (May 4, 2018) Loreena McKennitt — Lost Souls (May 4, 2018)•◊•     Loreena McKennitt’s first release of original material since 2006, Lost Souls is a rich and culturally eclectic recording, which one has come to expect from this unique artist. It is a rich tapestry of contemporary thoughts woven with threads from the Celts to the Bedouins, stitched with the sounds of a diverse collection of musical voices, including nyckelharpa, oud, kanoun, a military band and flamenco guitar. An exotic musical journey like no other. Overall: 8x Gold, 14x Platinum.
Born: February 17, 1957, Morden, Manitoba, Canada
Genre: Indie, Folk
Instruments: Vocals piano harp accordion
Location: Morden, Manitoba, Canada
Album release: May 4, 2018
Record Label: Quinlan Road
Duration:     47:55
Tracks:
1. Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas     6:41
2. A Hundred Wishes     4:34
3. Ages Past, Ages Hence     5:27
4. The Ballad of the Fox Hunter     5:48
5. Manx Ayre     4:03
6. La Belle Dame sans Merci     6:09
7. Sun, Moon and Stars     4:34
8. Breaking of the Sword     5:30
9. Lost Souls     5:09
℗ 2018 Quinlan Road Limited
Notes:
•◊•     Quinlan Road is a fully independent record label and management office founded in 1985. It is wholly owned and operated by its only artist, Loreena McKennitt.
•◊•     Quinlan Road’s head office is located in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
FRA:
•◊•     Fidèle au style qui l’a fait connaître, Lost Souls présente onze compositions originales d’inspiration celtique, arabisante et moyen~orientale se fondant en une trame sonore aussi nuancée qu’envoûtante. Composé sur plusieurs années, certains morceaux de Lost Souls entendus furtivement el live, reste toutefois inédits en version studio. Les autres titres ont vu le jour plus récemment, au fil de ses derniers projets et pérégrinations. Quelques~uns s’inspirent des poèmes de John Keats et de W.B. Yeats, alors qu’un autre évoque les délices du Moyen~Orient. L’album Lost Souls offre recueil d’impressions et d’expressions éclectiques adaptées pour notre seul plaisir. McKennitt, au piano sur plusieurs titres, est accompagnée de ses collaborateurs de longue date, Caroline Lavelle au violoncelle, Hugh Marsh au violon, Brian Hughes à la guitare et Dudley Phillips à la basse. Grâce à son savant mélange, sur fond celtique, de pop, de folk et de musique du monde ayant vendu plus de 14 millions d’albums à travers le monde, Loreena a récolté de nombreuses certifications or, platine et multi~platine dans plus de quinze pays répartis sur quatre continents. L’artiste a été nominée pour deux prix Grammy et a remporté deux prix Juno, ainsi que le Billboard International Achievement Award.
Review
AUTHOR: Aaron Badgley. Score:    ***½
•◊•     Lost Souls is Loreena McKennitt’s tenth studio album, and her first album of original material since 2006’s An Ancient Muse. She has  released albums since An Ancient Muse (2008’s A Midwinter Night’s Dream and 2010’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley) but those albums were comprised of brilliant arrangements of traditional material. Lost Souls is pure McKennitt, and as good as her last two albums were, and they were genius, it is so nice to have an album of her original  writing.
•◊•     A great deal has happened in McKennitt’s life since 2006, both personally and professionally, and although this album is a collection of ‘leftovers’ from previous albums, one cannot help but hear some of what she has experienced expressed in the music, melodies and arrangements. Simply put, this albums feels personal and yet welcoming to all who wish to join her. Lost Souls is sheer beauty and brilliance.
•◊•     Given that these songs were never intended to co~exist as a collection, it is even more astounding that they form such a consistent album. Here McKennitt has rediscovered songs from the past that did not fit on the contemporary albums of the time. She has brought together musicians with whom she has worked with in the past (Brian Hughes, Hugh Marsh and Caroline Lavelle to name just three) and has reworked these songs so they all fit together nicely in this package.
•◊•     The instrumental performance is inspirational, and McKennitt’s voice has never sounded so good. One hears the emotion in her voice as she sings, especially in songs such as “A Hundred Wishes” and the staggeringly beautiful “Breaking Of The Sword”, a song inspired by McKennitt’s participation in the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. “Is it now a mother’s blessing, That the country’s truly free?” she sings. When the Stratford Concert Choir joins McKennitt, who performs the song wih The Central Band of the Armed Forces, the emotion is almost overwhelming. It is a beautiful piece of music and some of the most stirring lyrics set to music.
•◊•     Of course no Loreena McKennitt album is complete without instrumentals, and the two included in this album “Sun, Moon and Stars” and “Manx Ayre” are exquisite.
•◊•     Lost Souls is about lost souls, both as songs and as people. Thankfully Ms. McKennitt has brought them all together into one strong, solid album. And she invites all to join the lost souls, as she does with her listeners and her fanbase. How can one feel alone with beauty such as this album to draw them together. It may have taken longer than I like, but McKennitt is back and the world is really a better place for it. •◊•   http://spillmagazine.com/
Review
By Gary Graff. 5/10/2018
•◊•     Loreena McKennitt’s simple explanation for the 12~year break between new albums of original material is that “life happens” — touring to support her previous releases, caring for her late mother, researching another musical project. But McKennitt is back with the May 11 release of her 10th studio album Lost Souls, whose title track is premiering exclusively below.
•◊•     “I had a lot of people ask us, ‘Are you ever going to release anything original again?’” the Canadian songstress — who also released two collections of traditional material following 2006’s An Ancient Muse — tells Billboard. “I figured the quickest way was to go to the cupboard and look at what had been written in the past. Four or five songs existed as little breadcrumbs from the late ‘80s to the present, which gave us a good start. So (Lost Souls) is a bit more of a collection, a corralling of pieces than ‘Here’s a creative vision and I want the right pieces to fit that.’ It’s more like a gathering, a collection of morsels.”
•◊•     The nine tracks on Lost Souls span more than three decades. McKennitt recalls performing “The Ballad of the Fox Hunter” and “Ages Past, Ages Hence” during the late ‘80s, while “Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas” was written during the early ‘90s. “La Belle Dams Sans Merci” was considered for An Ancient Muse, “Sun, Moon and Stars” has been around for a few years and “Manx Ayre” comes from a melody McKennitt composed during her days of busking on the streets of Toronto.
•◊•     The “Lost Souls” track, meanwhile, was the album’s most recent song, written last year and inspired by CBC lectures published in Ronald Wright’s 2004 book A Short History of Progress. “(Wright) has studied civilizations as one might study the black boxes of aircrafts that have gone down,” McKennitt says. “In his view it seems as a species we have a tendency to get ourselves into progress traps. When he wrote this lecture series it was coming as much from an environmental concern as anything else, but I put the connection to new technologies. I think they are very quickly and drastically changing everything we have known in such a fundamental and a quick way that I worry we may be in a progress trap here, too.”
•◊•     “Those were the ruminations that underpinned that song. I didn’t want to get into it too literally, like many artists, so I wrote in a cryptic or metaphorical way so people could relate to it even if they didn’t understand where I was coming from.”
•◊•     McKennitt will support Lost Souls’ release with in~store appearances May 1618 in Germany and the Netherlands. She plans to begin touring in earnest during October, with a twoyear global campaign the will kick off during October in South America. Meanwhile, McKennitt already has her sights on her next album, a set that will examine the connection between Celtic and Northern Indian cultures that she began working on some years ago.
•◊•     “It continues to morph each passing day, almost too dangerous to time,” McKennitt says. “I took a wonderful trip (to India) to start working on this and got plenty of inspiration, and I would love to feel I can go and do another. It’s very interesting but very challenging because of the way the music business has changed so much in the last 10 years or so, when we released Ancient Muse. The creative side is the least of my worries; It’s more, ‘Is there going to be a proper return for the time and money invested in this. Will people actually BUY something when it’s put out?’ So there’s much to study and learn and evaluate.” •◊•      https://www.billboard.com/
About:
⦿       Singer~songwriter and multi~instrumentalist Loreena McKennitt is one of Canada’s most beloved national artists, a folk chanteuse, and a new age troubadour who made her breakthrough in the mid~‘80s with her literate and oft~experimental focus on Celtic~tinged traditional and original material, coupled with her haunting harp playing. As her career progressed, McKennitt began incorporating Spanish, Galician, and Arabic themes into her repertoire, culminating in a trio of career~defining albums — The Visit, The Mask and Mirror, and The Book of Secrets — that made her an international star.
⦿       The daughter of a nurse mother and a livestock~trading father, McKennitt studied classical piano and voice and learned to dance in the highland style as a youngster. Her love of traditional music was strengthened in the folk clubs of Winnipeg, which she frequented during the brief period she studied veterinary science at the University of Manitoba. Relocating to Stratford, Ontario, she continued to sharpen her skills as a composer and performer. In 1981, she auditioned for a role in the city’s Stratford Festival of Canada. Although she did not get the role, she remained inspired. After reading Diane Sward Rapaport’s book How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording, she formed her own label, Quinlan Road.
⦿       After releasing two albums, a nine~song cassette, Elemental, in 1985 and a collection of Christmas tunes, To Drive the Cold Winter Away, in 1987, she had her first breakthrough with her 1989 album Parallel Dreams. With the help of a network of small independent distributors, the album sold more than 40,000 copies within four months. Its success was surpassed by McKennitt’s fourth album, The Visit. Distributed by Warner Canada, the album sold over 600,000 copies (six~times platinum) in Canada and received a Juno Award, as did her next recording, The Mask and Mirror, in 1994.
⦿       While her albums have featured soothing, ultra~melodic arrangements, McKennitt’s lyrics have reflected her interests in the poetry of W.B. Yeats, William Blake, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Her music has been heard on the soundtracks of numerous plays and films. In 1989, she was commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada to compose the music for a film series, Woman and Spirituality. Her subsequent commissions have included such films as Jade, Highlander III, and Disney’s The Santa Clause, and TV shows including Northern Exposure, Due South, and EZ Streets.
⦿       In 1998, McKennitt scored her biggest hit with “The Mummers’ Dance.” Aided by a pop crossover remix, the single helped propel her sixth LP, The Book of Secrets, to number three in Canada and into the Billboard Top 20, making it her highest~charting release to date. Sadly, her world crumbled that July when her fiancé, Ronald Rees, died while on a sailing trip with his brother and a family friend in Georgian Bay. Everything stopped immediately in order for McKennitt to grieve, while rumors of her retirement also circulated. At the time of her fiancé’s death, McKennitt was mixing a new album, Live in Paris and Toronto, at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. Recorded in Salle Pleyel in Paris and Massey Hall in Toronto during spring 1998, and the album was released in 1999. All profits from the album have gone to the Cook~Rees Memorial Fund, which McKennitt set up to finance water safety initiatives and education across Canada. It would be almost a decade before McKennitt would return to her own material.
⦿       In the new millennium, McKennitt allowed herself some healing time. She didn’t disappear from music altogether, however, and worked with a number of local and national charities. Her Spanish version of “Dante’s Prayer” was featured in the Canadian/Venezuelan feature film A House with a View of the Sea in 2001. In 2002, she headlined a concert in Winnipeg for Queen Elizabeth, and in 2003 she received the Order of Canada. Two years later, McKennitt began work on her seventh studio album, Ancient Muse, which was released in 2006 and peaked in the Canadian Top Ten. Nights from the Alhambra, a live CD/DVD, arrived in 2007, followed by Midwinter Night’s Dream, a collection of holiday music that included 1995’s Winter Garden EP in its entirety, along with eight new recordings. A Mediterranean Odyssey was released in 2009; the two~disc set included Olive and the Cedar, an 11~song compilation of some of her best~loved Mediterranean pieces, along with From Istanbul to Athens, which was recorded live on her 2009 Mediterranean tour.
⦿       In 2010, McKennit issued The Wind That Shakes the Barley, an album that found her revisiting the traditional Celtic style of her earlier work. Two years later, she followed up that studio effort with the live and unplugged concert album Troubadours on the Rhine: A Trio Performance. Surveying her three~decade recording career, 2013’s two~disc The Journey So Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt drew a dozen key songs from her eight studio albums and her single releases, collecting them on the first disc, with a second bonus disc that featured live performances recorded in Mainz, Germany during McKennitt’s 2012 A Midsummer’s Night tour. Her tenth album, Lost Souls, was released in spring 2018 and included the singles “A Hundred Wishes” and “Breaking of the Sword.” ~ Craig Harris & Neil Z. Yeung
Personal life:
⦿       In July 1998, McKennitt’s fiancé Ronald Rees, his brother Richard, and their close friend Gregory Cook drowned in a boating accident on Georgian Bay. She was deeply affected by the event, and she founded the Cook~Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety in the same year. At the time of the incident, she was working on a live album of two performances called Live in Paris and Toronto. The proceeds from this album were donated to the newly created memorial fund, totaling some three million dollars.
⦿       After the release of the live album, McKennitt decided that she would substantially reduce the number of her public performances, and she did not release any new recordings until the studio album An Ancient Muse in 2006.
Honours:
•◊•     Juno Award, Best Roots/Traditional Album 1992, for The Visit
•◊•     Juno Award, Best Roots/Traditional Album 1994, for The Mask and Mirror
•◊•     Billboard Music Award for International Achievement, 1997
•◊•     Headline performer for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at The Golden Jubilee Celebrations, Province of Manitoba, 2002
•◊•     Honorary Doctor of Letters, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2002
•◊•     Member of the Order of Manitoba, July 2003
•◊•     Member of the Order of Canada, July 2004
•◊•     Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Manitoba, June 2005
•◊•     Canadian Ambassador, Hans Christian Andersen Bicentennary, June 2005
•◊•     Honorary Doctor of Laws, Queen’s University, October 2005
•◊•     Investiture as Honorary Colonel, 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, December 2006
•◊•     Nominated for a Grammy award, Best Contemporary World Music Album, in 2007
•◊•     Western Canadian Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, September 2009
•◊•     Performed at Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Opening Ceremonies, February 12, 2010
•◊•     Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business, George Brown College, June 2010
•◊•     Nominated for a Grammy award, Best New Age Album, in 2012
•◊•     Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France, 2013
•◊•     Appointment as Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force, September 2014
Website: https://loreenamckennitt.com/
Label: https://shop.napalmrecords.com/
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Loreena McKennitt Lost Souls (May 4, 2018)

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