Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Radio Show 25/06/2018

Profondo-Rosso

This week’s Unearthing Forgotten Horrors show features a smorgasbord of amazing music including new tracks from two Folk Horror Revival favourites Goat and Sharron Kraus, as well as a sseasonal classic from Grand Magus as well as great tracks from Umberto, Black Mountain Transmitter, Trappist Afterland and Hawkwind. Our  soundtrack of the week is Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso, and comes courtesy of both Goblin and Giorgio Gaslini, Join me on a1radio.co.uk, Monday from 7pm UK time.

https://www.a1radio.co.uk

Black Mountain Transmitter will be appearing at the Folk Horror Revival Witch Cults event at the Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle on July 14th.

black mountain trans

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

Advertisements

Our Final Witch Cults Announcement!

34180356_10160430339240484_6248183586017509376_n.jpg

After several weeks of build up we have arrived at our completed lineup and damn good it looks if you ask me. Joining those already announced we have even more amazing musical performances, and some of the finest independent short films you could shake a very big stick at. Anyway without further ado, here they are.

Nathalie Stern

nathalie

Nathalie Stern is a Swedish singer-songwriter based in the north-east of England. She draws inspiration for her music from her surroundings, the north-east’s rich cultural history and it’s breathtaking landscape are both influential in the creation of her own unique brand of  what she calls “experimental, electro, glitch folk”.

For Witch Cults Nathalie will be performing a very special set based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, one of the true greats of American wyrd fiction. We are overjoyed that Nathalie is able to join us for Witch Cults. I can guarantee you will be mesmerised and captivated by her dark electronic drones and vocal loops.

Here is a little taster of Nathalie’s work.

https://nathaliesternmusic.bandcamp.com/track/7-flowers

 

Georgia Seddon

georgia

Georgia Seddon is a classically trained musician, who performs her own songs as a solo artist. She trained at the City of Edinburgh Music School and Newcastle University, and now lives in Glasgow where she works as a musician and music transcriber. She is a member of the Mike Heron (Incredible String Band founder) Band, and more recently Alex Rex (Alex Neilson, Trembling Bells founder); and among others, she has performed with Alessi’s Ark, Green Gartside, the Trembling Bells, Robyn Hitchcock, The Album Leaf, and Scott Fagan. Georgia and her father (Mike Heron) have taken part in two high profile Incredible String Band tribute shows (Barbican Centre, London, 2009; and the Edinburgh Playhouse, 2017), and in 2008, they performed at the Hollywood Bowl with The Album Leaf, and alongside Devendra Banhart and Gilberto Gil. In recent years, Georgia has toured the UK and Europe with Mike Heron and the Trembling Bells, Scott Fagan, and Ed Askew.

Georgia’s EP – available via Bandcamp – was recorded by Green Gartside (Scritti Politti) in his home studio in London.

https://georgiaseddon.bandcamp.com/album/georgia-seddon-2

 

Marcus H

20180213_113132

Bristol born Marcus H is an experimental musician from the North East Coast of England near to Saltburn.

His studio project ‘Soiled’ commenced in 2002. Combining elements of beats, noise, guitar phrases and drones. The Quietus described it as ‘a rather unique, loose, expressionistic collage style yet manages to keenly infer a peculiarly English style of strange fiction’.

His music has featured on / in BBC 3 Late Junction, BBC 6 Freakzone, WFMU New Jersey & KALX Berkeley, Mojo Magazine, Electronic Sound Magazine & Wire Magazine.

We are very proud to  have Marcus making a very rare solo appearance for us at Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults.

20180530_195222.jpg

 

Short Films

We also have four wonderful short films that have been handpicked by us for the purpose of screening at this event. As well as screening classics like Simon, King of the Witches and the Italian print of Witchcraft ’70 we want to celebrate the emerging talent that is regularly brought to our attention within the Folk Horror Revival cabal. These four films represent some of the very best talent around at the moment.

Bella in the Wych Elm

Director Tom Lee Rutter, was born and raised in the black country, and now lives in nearby Worcestershire where he crafts films of a horror fantastical and sometimes bizarre nature. Tom has a decidedly DIY approach to film making and aims to create fantastical worlds that belie their tiny budgets.

Bella

Bella in the Wych Elm is a film made to celebrate a most fascinating local murder mystery via the spooky films and TV shows of yesteryear. It is also a salute to the elder Black Country generations of whose superstitious natures turned him onto a love for the unknown to begin with.

In 1943 a group of boys wandering the woodland of Hagley Hall discovered the remains of an unknown woman stuffed inside a hollowed Wych Elm tree. To this day her identity is still unknown. In 1944 however, mysterious graffiti began to adorn the walls of the neighboring towns; WHO PUT BELLA IN THE WYCH ELM. Somebody knew but who? This curious folk phantasmagoria feverishly displays the known possibilities which take us from the mystical realms of witchcraft, restless ghosts to sinister WW2 espionage. Bella In The Wych Elm will intrigue, and frighten in all it’s quaint yet claustrophobic glory.

If you’d like a taste of what to expect you can view the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210934584

Thelema and Conjuration

Two films from Folk Horror Revival’s very own Gary Parsons.

conj.png

Gary Parsons is an MA film graduate from Goldsmiths College London who specialises in short films. Utilizing both, elements of the surrealist genre and images of the occult, these films are both beautiful and at times disturbing. They also tap into the verisimilitude of the erotic and the unconventional.

Gary has been influenced by film-makers such as Jan Svankmajer, Kenneth Anger, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Bunuel, Hans Richter, Man Ray and Jean Rollin. All these elements meet within a melting pot to find visual references within the work.

The films can be viewed in many different ways, as straight forward narrative pieces but also as ritual film as demonstrated by similar film-makers such as Maya Derren or even as music promo video. The films stand as an ongoing obsession of their maker as an overall understanding of the human psyche within certain specific landscapes.

Thelema is a short film that was based upon several of Aleister Crowley’s writings and how other writers including Kenneth Grant interpreted them. The film has an almost documentary feel to it, in fact a certain amount of the footage was shot at the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily, Crowley’s home, temple and spiritual centre during the early 1920s.

thelema

Conjuration is Gary’s most recent film and is based around an Alexandrian ritual. It deals with modern day magick, but also correlates it with magick’s heritage through Gary’s impeccable choice of shooting locations. Several powerful ancient sites, notably Avebury, Glastonbury, Pompeii and Oslo were chosen for this purpose.

conj2

 

American Witch (documentary)

Page1_1
Welcome to a voyage from novice to initiate. The chthonic path is the common thread that weaves together the various underground religions in America from Wicca to Voodoo and Stregheria to Santeria, and everything in between. Along our pilgrimage, we will unfold the historical background in places where witchcraft came into its own distinctive form such as Salem, New Orleans, New York City, and Los Angeles. American Witch will also explore the stories of practitioners and how it’s changed their lives.

Scarlett Amaris has co-written scripts for the seminal horror anthology THE THEATRE
BIZARRE (2011), the award-winning, supernatural documentary THE OTHERWORLD
(L’AUTRE MONDE) (2013), featuring years of her research into the mysteries of the South of France, in which she appears as a resident expert, and the horror film REPLACE (2017). She’s co-written the dark fantasy trilogy SAURIMONDE I, II & III, and her first contemporary fiction novel DESIRED PYROTECHNICS will debut in 2019. A well-regarded authority on alternative history, her research has been featured in numerous books and anthologies. She also teaches comparative mythology and witchcraft at The Crooked Path Occult Apothecary in Los Angeles, and is a founding member of the Tridents of Hekate coven.

Melissa St. Hilaire wrote film and music reviews for The Heights Inc. Her poetry has appeared in the periodicals Shards, The Outer Fringe, and The Laughing Medusa. She co-authored several scripts for Tone-East Productions. She has written articles for Feminine Power Circle, Savvy Authors, SF Signal, and The Qwillery, among others. She has also appeared in the anthology books Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies and Folk Horror Revival: Corpse Roads. Her debut book was a memoir titled In The Now. She co-wrote the dark fantasy series, Saurimonde, with Scarlett Amaris, and is currently finishing a sci-fi novel called X’odus. She is also a founding member of the Tridents of Hekate coven.

 

Andy Paciorek

Our compére for the day is Folk Horror Revival creator and all round Folk Horror expert Andy Paciorek. Andy, as well as creating Folk Horror Revival, runs the publishing arm of FHR, Wyrd Harvest Press, which donates all profits from sales to The Wildlife Trusts. Andy is also a writer in his own right, having written books on the Celtic Otherworld (Strange Lands) and the Slavic Otherworld (Black Earth). His main role is as an in demand illustrator and he has worked on a variety of projects with the likes of Chris Lambert, and Dr Bob Curran. He is currently working on a book project with Darren Charles and Gary Parsons. As well as compéring the event Andy will be giving readings from Wyrd Harvest Press’s latest title The Wytch Hunter’s Manual written by Dr Bob Curran and illustrated by Andy himself.

14633534_10154073795779211_5407484516429802972_o

So there we have it, our lineup is complete. There is a suggestion that we may have one or two very special guests on the day, but you’ll just have to wait and see if they come off.

 

The full lineup is as follows:

Compére

Andy Paciorek

Speakers

Diane Purkiss, Gail-Nina Anderson, Darren Charles, Bob Beagrie, and The Witch play written by Tracey Norman and performed by Circle of Spear Productions

Music

Black Mountain Transmitter, Georgia Seddon, Nathalie Stern, Heartwood Institute, Peg Powler, Hokano & Marcus H

Films

Simon, King of the Witches, Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri (Witchcraft 70), Thelema, Conjuration, Bella in the Wych Elm & American Witch

34387295_10160439228955484_7839586062878900224_n.jpg

 

Tickets are available from the eventbrite link below. There is a two tier price structure, the first option is an all day ticket covering the full event from 12 noon until 1am priced at £27.54. The second option is a partial ticket, just covering the evening event from 7pm to 1am and costing £16.76. We will get a timetable of events up as soon as possible.

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

 

 

 

Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults Announcement.

After much anticipation we have arrived at our fouth announcement. We have two very exciting additions to our lineup for Witch Cults that will thrill and excite you all.

 

First up, I’m sure you will join us in providing a warm welcome to the lineup for one of the world’s most celebrated experts on witchcraft. A woman whose book The Witch in History is among the seminal works relating to the issue of gender in witchcraft.

Diane Purkiss

Facebook profile pic

Diane Purkiss is Professor of English literature at Oxford University and fellow of Keble College, and you can’t get much more Gothic than that. She has published widely on witchcraft, fairies, ghosts and other otherness. She also wrote a trilogy of fantasy novels with her son Michael Dowling which focus on Greek monsters and retell Greek mythology from the monsters’ point of view. The title of her talk for Witch Cults is Who’s scary now? Scottish witches in the realms of the dead.

 

Our second announcement for today is something a little different for the lineup. At our Winter Ghosts event in Whitby last December we brought the dramatic arts into a Folk Horror Revival event for the first time, this time we are taking things one step further.

 

TraceyTShirtFront

Witch…is she or isn’t she?

written by Tracey Norman

performed by Circle of Spears Productions

 

Is she….or isn’t she?

 

Set loosely in the late 1500s, WITCH follows the story of Margery Scrope, a destitute widow who has been arrested on suspicion of witchcraft, following an accusation from her neighbour Thomas Latimer. He believes that she has cursed his family, causing his daughter’s death and his son’s illness. Local landowner/magistrate Sir William Tyrell, intrigued, summons them both to examine the evidence in the case so he can decide how it should proceed. Is Margery really a witch, or is this nothing more than a neighbourly squabble?

Circle of Spears presents an original piece of theatre based entirely on the experiences of real people drawn from the historical record. It takes particular inspiration from surviving documents in the 1687 witchcraft trial of Lyme Regis housewife Deanes Grimmerton. The show was written in 2016 and has since been performed almost 60 times in a variety of venues across the country.  It gives a voice to the thousands of people who endured the same terrifying situation as Deanes, examining various themes and issues which arise from the characters’ discussion. As the action unfolds, secrets are revealed – but who has the most to hide?

The show was written as a discussion piece, so as you watch, consider… is Margery guilty, or is she simply the keeper of uncomfortable truths?

 

They join those already confirmed for what promises to be a packed day of talks, film, music and drama with a witchy theme. As if that weren’t enough we still have several announcements coming your way, so keep your eyes peeled for more great talks, music, short films and more.

33334509_10160396763995484_4598757617110614016_n.jpg

Tickets priced at £25 for the full day and £15 for the evening only are available from the eventbrite link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults – Third Announcement.

Ok so this is our third announcement for Folk Horror Revival’s Witch Cults event on 14 July at The Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle, and as you can probably see the lineup is starting to take shape. Only two things to announce today, but we still have a number of amazingly cool things to bring you before the lineup is complete. Anyway back to today and firstly we have another addition to our musical lineup.

PEG POWLER

32883751_10217371162175364_7622788577771913216_n

Peg Powler are a four piece acoustic band from the Teesside and North Yorkshire areas performing original material, traditional folk songs and blues & jazz standards. Their original material embraces literary motifs, contemporary life and traditional, mythical and historical influences.  They play regularly at folk, poetry and literary festivals, folk and acoustic events and are the house band at Folklines, Middlesbrough’s contemporary evening of music and spoken word.

They take their name from the mythical hag of the River Tees, a grindylow who is said to grab children and wayward young men who stray too close to the bubbling river’s edge and devour them in her watery den, known as Hell’s Kettles.

Peg Powler’s debut album, Northern Lines is available on iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.

Band members:

Ian Bartholomew: Guitar/Vocals/Songwriting;

Sara Dennis: Vocals/Ukulele/Harmonium/Percussion/Songwriting;

Mags Forward: Fiddle/Backing Vocals;

Graham Brotton: Double Bass/Guitar/Backing Vocals.

http://www.pegpowlerband.co.uk

@pegpowlerband

#pegpowler

 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING…

‘The best new folk band in the North.’

Andy Willoughby, Poet, Literary Director and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing.

 

‘Beautifully dark and twisted folk music with a macabre streak a mile wide.’

Bob Fischer, BBC Tees

 

Peg Powler are a North East band standing firmly in the present but with roots running deep into the past. Drawing upon wealth of folklore, myth and history their powerful original songs bring us face to face with a host of wyrd characters, dangerous situations and dark dramas that remind us of our own challenges and of how our own choices will shape our futures. This is beautiful, breath-taking and intelligent music.

Bob Beagrie, Poet, Literary Director and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing.

 

‘It’s common nowadays when trying to describe musicians to say they are a little bit of this or that, well if it helps, Peg Powler are like early Fairport mixed with the Strawbs, and dash of Pentangle. But more than all of this, their music sounds like home to me. Sara Dennis’s lilting voice with an edge of jazz to it would be equally at home in a Greenwich Village jazz cellar, but the music is rooted on the banks of the Tees, singing about the water witch, the eponymous Peg Powler or the all-American Emily Dickinson. It’s all here.’

Peter Lagan, Lutenist

 

 

Also joining our carefully curated programme of films we have a classic witchcraft documentary from the golden age of witchcraft films, 1970s.

 

 

Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri (Witchcraft 70)

Angeli-Bianchi...Angeli-Neri

We are proud to present a very rare screening of the European version of Luigi Scattini’s ‘Witchcraft 70’ documentary. This is a very different print than the American version of the film, it starts with grave desecrations in Highgate Cemetery London that is not in the US print. Featuring a wonderful score by Piero Umiliani, that really helps give the documentary the feel of classic Italian horror movies at the time. The film is very much a product of its era and the voice over sometimes contains some ‘groovy’ dialogue.

This version features extended footage of British witches Alex and Maxine Sanders preparing a ritual. The film also covers a black mass and Anton La Vey and the Church of Satan as well as voodoo rituals. The documentary does not differentiate between Satanism, black magic and witchcraft and puts them in a melting pot together to make a heady psychedelic brew. Copies of this movie are very hard to come by as it’s never been officially released on DVD and the last screenings of it in the UK took place in the 70’s, today we present the best sourced version that we can find. Witchcraft 70 is certainly a product of its era, the film does contain nudity and animal sacrifice that may upset some viewers. This is the extended 90 minute version, we show it here as a time capsule of when witchcraft was at its public height within the media consciousness.

bone collector 2

 

They join those already announced on the lineup that promises to be one of the truly outstanding witchcraft related events of the year. So far we have:

Speakers – Darren Charles, Gail-Nina Anderson, and Bob Beagrie

Films – Simon King of the Witches, and Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri

Musical performances – Peg Powler, Hokano, Heartwood Institute, and Black Mountain Transmitter.

Still come we have more wonderful speakers, more amazing musical acts, a selection of specially chosen short films, and even more exciting things taking place which I can’t reveal to you just yet.

Tickets for either the full day or just the evening event are available from the eventbrite link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

31743633_10209067236157594_4602741104788373504_n

Our second Witch Cults Announcement is Here.

31743633_10209067236157594_4602741104788373504_n

The second announcement for our Witch Cults event which takes place at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne, on July 14th is finally upon us and what a wonderful selection of speakers and musicians we have for your delectation.

Joining our musical programme we have the world’s finest “purveyors of sonic archaeology” The Heartwood Institute

The Heartwood Institute

31914291_1768083639880724_2034477470689787904_n (1)

Their latest album Secret Rites has been described as “an unholy collision of Throbbing Gristle style proto industrial, kosmiche krautrock and 70’s folk horror soundtracks.” The album’s overriding  focus lies heavily on the witchcraft documentaries of the 1970s, Secret Rites, The Power of the Witch, Witchcraft ’70, and The Legend of the Witches, and in particular the prominent stars of the period Alex and Maxine Sanders, the self appointed King and Queen of the Witches. The album is in their own words ” A hauntological delve into a time when the Occult was making inroads into mainstream media, truly the Age of Aquarius…”

For their performance at Witch Cults you can expect a setlist largely fashioned from the material on this album. We here at Folk Horror Revival are very much looking forward to checking them out on the evening.

Hokano

Hokano

Hokano is the solo project of Andy Hokano, mainly known for his work with the coldwave/neofolk outfit The Psychogeographical Commission and Newcastle based occult drone trio Chonyid. Andy will be performing a set based upon his forthcoming release “Witch Pricker” which is based loosely upon the 1650 Newcastle witch trials.

Gail-Nina Anderson

gail-nina

Gail-Nina Anderson is a cultural historian, lecturer and journalist based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with a specialism in the visual traditions of the Gothic.

She has contributed to the Fortean Times and the Journal of the Folklore Society, as well writing on Victorian art, William Burroughs, fairy traditions, and the Angel of the North. She reviews regularly for The Crack, is an active member of the Dracula Society and is one of the founders/readers for the Lit & Phil’s bi-annual “Phantoms at the Phil” ghost story event. Her third exhibition of weird and wonderful postcards will take place this summer in Newcastle.

We can’t wait to hear Gail-Nina’s talk “Hecate or the Horned Man – was there a God of the Witches?”. How about you guys?

Ok, that’s enough for today’s announcement. So far we have talks from Gail-Nina Anderson, and Darren Charles, Bob Beagrie’s poetry recitals, music from Black Mountain Transmitter, Hokano and The Heartwood Institute, and our first film Simon King of the Witches.  We still have quite a bit to come so please stick with us and hopefully we shall have our next announcement up in a few days time.

Tickets are available now from the eventbrite link below, priced at £25 for the full day event and £15 for the evening event alone.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults – First Announcement!

31743633_10209067236157594_4602741104788373504_n

Banner design copyright Andy Paciorek and Cobweb Mehers

 

Welcome to this, the first announcement of our exciting Witch-Cults event taking place July 14th in Newcastle upon Tyne, and we have a veritable smorgasbord of good stuff for your delectation.

Ok let’s begin with the first musical announcement for our evening entertainment. (Please note the film screening will also be part of the evening entertainment, this film programme will run twice during the day, once across the afternoon 12-5 and once in the evening 7-12)

 

Black Mountain Transmitter

 black mountain trans

Black Mountain Transmitter is the one-man project of J.R. Moore from Northern Ireland. Since 2008 he has been creating instrumental soundscapes influenced by a diet of horror fiction and film, VHS era ‘Video Nasty’ soundtracks, The Radiophonic Workshop and the abject electronics of the early Industrial music pioneers. Known for albums such as “Black Goat of The Woods”, “Playing With Dead Things” and “Oscillator Ritual”, his work has been released by Auris Apothecary (USA), Aurora Borealis (UK) and his own Lysergic Earwax label at http://www.lysergicearwax.bandcamp.com

“Like an old horror film where the special effects are too cheap to give you a real shock, but the ideas are warped enough to make you stay awake afterwards for far longer than you wanted to” – Wire magazine

“The sounds created by Black Mountain Transmitter gives the impression of having been set in motion long ago by some remote force” – Julian Cope.

 

 

Moving onto our daytime programme, this section will be made up of talks, film screenings and one or two other exciting developments still to be announced. Anyway, without further ado here are the details of the first speakers to be announced and the first feature film in our screening programme.

Darren Charles

14570820_10154073795849211_8021523934460063290_o

Photograph courtesy Graeme K. Cunningham

Folk Horror Revivalist, Unearthing Forgotten Horrors DJ, and member of both The Equestrian Vortex and The Mortlake Bookclub. Darren Charles wears a number of different hats at various times but is very much embedded in the Folk Horror scene. Darren recently completed an MA in History at Newcastle University and will be using his expertise to discuss either Historical Accuracy/ Inaccuracy in relation to the Cinema of Witchcraft, or The Newcastle Witch trials.

He has previously spoken on the topic of Folk Horror at Cambridge University, The British Museum, Edinburgh Summerhall, The Hepworth, Wakefield, and most recently at The Scottish Pagan Federation Conference at the Pleasance in April. Darren is a longstanding member of the Folk Horror Revival admin group and is currently hard at work on several book projects.

 

 

Bob Beagrie

31786531_10155319844400918_6521123526408142848_n

Photograph Courtesy Kev Howard

Bob Beagrie, award winning poet and performer has published 7 collections of poetry most recently This Game of Strangers (Wyrd Harvest Press 2017) and Leasungspell (Smokestack Books 2016). His work has been translated into Finnish, Estonian, Danish, Urdu, Dutch and Swedish. He is a founder member of the experimental word and music collective Project Lono and a Senior Lecturer at Teesside University.

Bob will perform sections from the epic poem The Seer Sung Husband, a verse novel about Old Mother Shipton and ill fated rebellion against Henry VIII known as The Pilgrimage of Grace.

 

Simon, King of the Witches

simon

This gloriously campy over the top horror movie from 1971 directed by American racing driver turned director Bruce Kessler is the first title for our film programme. A psychedelic cult classic that so far remains unreleased on these shores in any format. It stars Andrew Prine as Simon Sinestrari, a ceremonial magician, who’s ambition it is, to become a god. Simon lives in a storm drain, selling charm and potions as a means of getting by. The film is a wild psychedelic freak out with drugs, parties, Satanic rituals and all kinds of lysergic madness and mayhem. Over the years Simon has become a beloved cult classic and Folk Horror Revival are excited to be bringing Simon to the big screen at the Star and Shadow, Newcastle.

Don’t forget this is only the first announcement so loads more fascinating content still to come, we’ve barely scratched the witch…err I mean surface. Anyway ticket links are now operational and the pricing structure is as follows:

Full day ticket (12noon -1am)      £25

Evening only tickets (7pm-1am)  £15

Both are available from the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

 

Sharron Kraus – The Pilgrim Interview

After John Pilgrim’s most insightful interview with Phil and Layla from Hawthonn, he has been in touch with Folk Horror Revival favourite Sharron Kraus to chat about her inspirational new album, her enchanting novella Hares in the Moonlight and Folk Horror’s  revival, as well as talking about the upcoming Swansongs event at the Black Swan in York on May 12th. Anyway, I shall leave the floor clear for Sharron and John to guide us through the mist.

 

Publication1

 

John Pilgrim: You are a good friend of Folk Horror Revival, having appeared on stage at the 2016 event at the British Museum and at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield last year. What do you make of the revival of interest in folk horror which is taking place more generally? What do you think accounts for this and do you have thoughts on how this might continue to develop?

 

Sharron Kraus: The question of why there’s now an upsurge of interest in folk horror is an interesting one but I’m probably not best qualified to answer it, as to me the real question is what’s taken everyone else so long?! If I were to speculate wildly about why folk horror is gaining in popularity now, though, I’d guess that it’s something to do with the fact that the world has recently become a darker, more chaotic place.

 

John Pilgrim: A deep spiritual connection with the landscape permeates much of your work.  What were the formative experiences for you in connecting to the landscape and how has your connection and awareness changed over the years?

 

Sharron Kraus: I loved insects and trees as a child and forests have always been special places for me. I spent a year in Aberystwyth as a student and the landscape of Mid Wales cast a spell on me. For years after leaving there the kind of landscapes I’d found there appeared in my dreams. The first time I took LSD I was in a copse just outside Oxford with a couple of friends. We spent hours in what felt like an enchanted land and afterwards, though the vividness of the trip wore off, the things I’d discovered never left me. It feels like there are new layers to my experience of landscape being added all the time.

sharron

 

John Pilgrim: Your album Pilgrim Chants and Pastoral Trails has been described as inhabiting “an an eerie and wonderful world, somewhere between eisteddfod and witches’ sabbat” . and as being “suffused with a lovingly melancholic sense of place”. How did this album come about?

 

Sharron Kraus: I visited Mid Wales, after years of not having been back there and my heart swelled with love for the place. I drove up through the Elan Valley, stopping and walking here and there, and wherever I stopped I had a tantalising sense of there being music just out of earshot. I stayed with friends and told them how I was feeling and they diagnosed a case of ‘hiraeth’, which is a Welsh word meaning something like homesickness or deep longing for somewhere. I decided to move to Mid Wales and try to listen to the land and draw out its music. At the time I thought that what I was doing was only possible because of the ‘magic’ of the place, but the way of working that I developed – that kind of listening and opening up to the place – became something I could then apply to other things, working on different projects. Two collaborations I’ve worked on since then – one with poet Helen Tookey and one with writer Justin Hopper – have involved the same kind of ‘listening’ to the text and responding musically to it.

 

John Pilgrim: One of your songs is ‘Blodeuwedd’ which I am sure must derive from the Mabinogi – the earliest prose stories in Britain. Can you tell us more about your interest in this mythology?

 

Sharron Kraus: I read the Mabinogi whilst I was living in Wales and loved the fact that some of the settings in the stories were actual places around me – that made obvious the magic in the land I was living in. I found the stories confusing at first – they’re very condensed and seem to require unlocking – and my way in was through writing songs about the stories or characters I wanted to gain some understanding of. As well as Blodeuwedd, the woman conjured out of flowers, I wrote about Branwen, the Welsh princess who’s married to Matholwch, King of Ireland, and who trains a starling to take a message to her brother Bran in Wales,   Efnisien, the troublemaker who starts a war between the Welsh and Irish, kills his own nephew by throwing him in the fire, then redeems himself somewhat by sacrificing his life to save his countrymen. I was writing about the characters in the stories, but also about my own experiences living in Wales, and about eternal themes found in the stories – like the plight of the migrant forced to seek work in a foreign land.

 

John Pilgrim: You have recently published ‘Hares in the Moonlight’, a tale of magic and adventure for readers aged 8 to 12, in the tradition of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper. What prompted you to follow this tradition in writing for this particular age group?

hares

 

Sharron Kraus: I wrote ‘Hares’ for children of good friends of mine and wrote a story I thought they would enjoy. I didn’t exactly decide to write in a tradition, but was influenced by the writers and stories I’d enjoyed as a child, including Garner and Cooper. I was keen to write about magic in a way that conveyed something true, which is what I think the best magical children’s writing does. I think this is something children’s fiction shares with folk horror: both of these things try to convey something of the mysteriousness, weirdness or magic of the world we live in.
John Pilgrim: You spoke on ‘Art as Alchemy’ at the ‘Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult’ conference in London in 2016. Recognising that this is complex subject, can you say something about how you see art as a form of alchemy. How does this thinking apply to your artistic practice and day-to-day life?

 

Sharron Kraus: The basic idea is that through art we can take suffering, pain and darkness and transmute them into something golden. The way the crucible of creativity does this is one of the things I think of as true magic – not supernatural magic, but just our ability to take chaos and form something from it – the way we make something out of nothing. That’s a very short answer; for a fuller one, there’s a podcast of the talk I gave at that conference here: https://soundcloud.com/highbrowlowlife/sharron-kraus-ru-podcast.

 

John Pilgrim: Joy’s Reflection is Sorrow, your new album, will be released on Sunstone Records in June. What themes have you been exploring in this recording and what are the points of continuity and discontinuity with your previous work?

 

Sharron Kraus: Most of the songs on the new album were written in the year my Dad died, and the wider world started to edge its way towards darkness, so death and darkness are pretty central. The chorus of one song asks the question “What can we do when darkness falls; what can we do when evil calls?” and I think the album is my attempt to answer that question. I guess it’s a question that’s been there implicitly in my work for a long time but that came up to the surface on this one. Sonically this is probably the most poppy album I’ve recorded – kind of baroque-folk-pop. I think that’s partly due to my decision to try to write in standard tuning and using verse-chorus song structures more than I’d normally do. Maybe it’s also partly because the world got darker and I wanted to add some light.

14724361_10154054580664211_434121861910531704_n

 

John Pilgrim: You will be playing at the Swansongs event at the Black Swan – a haunted medieval public house in York – on 12 May. What might people expect and do you think the venue might influence your performance?

 

Sharron Kraus: Playing in an atmospheric venue always adds something and the darker and spookier the better! I’ll be playing a mix of songs and semi-improvised instrumental pieces with Guy Whittaker joining me on drums and percussion. We may have a special guest with us and whip up some Rusalnaia magic too!

www.sharronkraus.com

Sharron will playing at our Swansongs event at the Black Swan in York on May 12th alongside Hawthonn and Sarah Dean. To buy tickets for this intimate evening visit the link below, but remember tickets are very limited and we would advise pre-booking to ensure admission.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379

swansongs

Folk Horror Revival Presents Winter Ghosts, Whitby December 2017

(Folk Horror Revival Presents Winter Ghosts 2017)

Folk Horror Revival Presents Winter Ghosts 2017

Folk Horror Revival presents Winter Ghosts Where better to spend an engaging winter’s evening in the compan…

Where better to spend an engaging winter’s evening in the company of the Folk Horror Revival group, than in the beautiful coastal town of Whitby. This event promises to be one of the highlights of the wyrd calendar, and is most definitely not to be missed.

In the intimate setting of The Metropole, Whitby, we cordially invite you to join us for our winter soiree, a gathering of the clans on the North Yorkshire coast. Folk Horror Revival present a series of exhilarating talks and musical performances for your terpsichorean pleasure.
Beginning at 4pm, the event gets under way with a series of thought provoking oratories with a distinctly local flavour, before we plunge headlong into an evening programme of esoteric, auditory treats for the soul.
Talks:
George Cromack – Coastal Terrors
Elaine Edmunds – The Tell Tale Art
Bob Fischer – A Story To Shiver To
Followed by – The Flash Company’s Mummer’s Play

Live Music:
The Equestrian Vortex featuring Melmoth the Wanderer
The Soulless Party featuring Chris Lambert
Leasungspell
Inkubus Sukkubus

Poster Image courtesy of Andy Paciorek and Erin Sorrey

Unearthing Forgotten May Days

This week’s Unearthing Forgotten Horrors radio show is a May Day spectacular featuring music from Pink Floyd, Acid Gallery, Maypole, Paul Giovanni, Sharron Kraus, Shirley and Dolly Collins, Inkubus Sukkubus, The Stone Tapes, Revebjelde, Perry Leopold and Jethro Tull. So gather round your maypole and light the bonfires for a 7pm start UK time here on (A1 Radio).

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors’ is an hour-long delve into the darker recesses of the musical underworld. A chance to immerse yourself in obscure horror soundtracks, dark drones, weird electronica, freaky folk, crazed kosmiche and some of the most abhorrent and twisted psychedelia ever committed to vinyl, CD or cassette.
A1Radio – Online, Anytime

A1Radio – Online, Anytime

A1Radio is an Internet Radio station broadcasting from Peterborough in the UK. We broadcast 24/7 with live show…