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NEW ALBUM: Loreena McKennitt - Lost Souls
#1
LOREENA MCKENNITT ~ Lost Souls
 
[Image: MI0004418112.jpg?partner=allrovi.com]
 
Tackling the title first; these are songs or pieces written over the course of Loreena’s career that for one reason or another have not made it on to any of her albums thus far - they didn’t fit, or were extraneous at the time – lost souls - nothing to do with whether or not they were actually worthy of being heard. That is one aspect - the other is that she had read, and was inspired by a book called A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright which examines the anthropology of civilizations and looks at the premise that we can, and inevitably do, fall into ‘progress traps’; we become more and more tactically driven, madly depleting natural resources, etc., etc., and moral progress takes a back seat, hence - lost souls. A smidge depressing, let’s face it – the thought of being swept along as part of the collective whole which is knowingly heading inexorably towards its own downfall. Aargh!! We need the rebels and conscious moral objectors in our societies in order to put the brakes on, pay attention, shift into reverse. There could be something in this release which speaks to that - I think she intended there to be.
 
I hadn’t realised that Ms McKennitt produces all her own music, and manages the distribution of it too – she’s run her own label, Quinlan Road, for the past 33 years and is completely in control of her work. Good for her, say I. Whenever she would busk on the streets (in the early days) and later at her performances, she would collect names and addresses of those fans who wished to be kept informed of any news of her music, and that way built up a formidable mailing list, all of which has helped considerably in generating and maintaining interest in her work.
 
This Canadian lady harpist knows her onions, to use an ancient and probably completely inappropriate colloquialism, lol! Although maybe it’s not that far off; she was raised in a rural setting after all. Her voice is a wonderfully clean, expressive soprano and she is also a bit of a roots specialist, except unlike Ry Cooder, she investigates Celtic origins (which go way back and are surprisingly widespread). One can discern sounds in her music from the Middle East, Europe and Africa and she’s co-opted instruments and musicians from all over the place – Greece, Israel, Spain, and so on.
 
While overall her music is to a large degree conservative and straight ahead, there’s a definable element in McKennitt’s work that saves it from being pedestrian (in my view, at least). With a fair amount of wafty world music out there, in order to be set apart, one simply must produce something that is vastly superior. She seems to know exactly what she’s doing and upholds an exacting standard. Also, crucially, she has the ability to convey emotion and feeling. Not least, she is wise enough to surround herself with other musicians of high calibre; Brian Hughes (guitar), Hugh Marsh (violin), Dudley Phillips (bass), Caroline Lavelle (cello), and the various guests.
 
Aside from one track, which for me personally, is just too much of a hymn, Lost Souls is a lovely, listenable album with lush orchestration and two gorgeous instrumental tracks.
 
I previously posted “Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas” in the ‘New and Notable’ thread … since there are slim pickings on YT at present, here it is again …  



"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
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#2
nice write up once again Ruby, and nice track...

to be honest, I cannot imagine Lorena recording a bad track whatsoever, a classy artist who deserves a lot wider exposure than she gets.
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