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Canadian artist Loreena McKennitt has, over more than two decades, explored many aspects of the Celtic music she's always loved. Now she's returned to her earliest inspiration -- traditional Irish and Scottish music -- to create a new album. In many ways the new album -- which is being released as a CD, as a download and on vinyl -- is a return to the simple, age-old music with which the singer began her career with her 1985 debut recording, Elemental. The Wind that Shakes the Barley includes familiar "classics" such as "Down by the Sally Gardens," "The Star of the County Down" and "The Parting Glass." They are mixed with lesser-known traditional songs, including "The Death of Queen Jane" and "As I Roved Out." There are two instrumental tracks -- including a McKennitt original called "The Emigration Tunes," which refers to Irish-Canadian history during the famine of the 1840s. The new album was recorded during the summer of 2010 at Sharon Temple, a handcrafted wooden building north of Toronto. Completed in 1832, the Temple of the Children of Peace -- to give the building its full title -- is the centerpiece of a National Historic Site, which encompasses nine historic buildings in a park setting. "It was a real joy to record our music in a place that is so rich, both historically and architecturally," McKennitt explains. "There is a fascinating interplay between architecture and sound; visually and sonically, the Temple inspired us all." Some of McKennitt's long-time musical companions -- violinist Hugh Marsh, cellist Caroline Lavelle, guitarist Brian Hughes, hurdy-gurdy player Ben Grossman -- were joined by a cast of other accomplished players.