Lost Souls, Loreena McKennitt's first recording of original material since her 2006 recording An Ancient Muse, is a rich and eclectic tapestry of songs woven with influences from the Celts to the Bedouins, stitched with the sounds of a diverse and exotic collection of musical voices, including the nyckelharpa, oud, kanoun, flamenco guitar and a Canadian military band. "Although Lost Souls does not follow the next chapter in my pursuit of the history of the Celts, it has been gratifying to complete a selection of songs on which I've been working on for some time," says Loreena. "Life has been so full and demanding these past ten years – both personally and professionally it was also gratifying to get back to the creative part of the process."
There are nine songs on the new album. Several were begun by Loreena some time ago, while others have been progressively taking shape in the midst of more recent projects and journeys. A few draw on the poetry of John Keats and W.B. Yeats, while another evokes a distinct Middle Eastern flavor. The album was recorded from May through October 2017 in Hamilton, Canada at Catherine North Studios and at Peter Gabriel's Read World Studios near Bath, in South West England. Engineered by Yossi Shakked, Stuart Bruce and Jeff Wolpert, Lost Souls was mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios.
It features Loreena on vocals, piano, keyboard, accordion and harp, accompanied by her core group of fellow musicians: Brian Hughes on guitars, bazouki and synth, Caroline Lavelle on cello and concertina, Hugh Marsh on violin, and Dudley Phillips on acoustic and electric bass. The album also features such specialty artists as 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) and Miguel Ortiz Ruvira (flamenco percussion).