Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Radio Show 25/06/2018

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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.

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

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Sarah Dean – The Pilgrim Interview

Welcome to this the third in our series of interviews conducted by our very own man about town, John Pilgrim.  Harpist Sarah Dean is someone I was only vaguely aware of until recently, So for me this interview is going to prove very interesting from a personal perspective. Anyway I will shut up and leave the rest to John and Sarah.

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John Pilgrim: What first attracted you to the harp?

 

Sarah Dean: My awareness of all things harp began with listening to The Celtic Renaissance album by Alan Stivell and then hearing Jon Anderson playing it. I’m drawn to things that create atmospheres and that’s what I love about the harp.

 

John Pilgrim: How has your understanding of the Celtic harp and its associated traditions developed over the years?

 

Sarah Dean: Bizarrely enough a guest spot with my local Women’s Institute on ‘Being a Harper’ sparked off lots of research and I put all this on my webpage entitled ‘All Things Harp’. I found out lots of things about the harp that I didn’t know, the origins of it, how physically it’s developed over the centuries and all the mystique surrounding it…fascinating stuff, thank you Ladies of the WI!

 

John Pilgrim: You seem to have strong affinity for the music of the 1970s. This is the classic era for Folk Horror film, television and literature.  What bands do you particularly like from around this time? And would you agree that the 70s are returning in some ways?

 

Sarah Dean: I’m stuck in the 70’s to be honest! As to returning, I don’t think it’s ever really gone away…music comes and goes and people are influenced by all sorts of things and all the things you grow up with and listen to. It all fashions the music we make, either consciously or subconsciously.  I was very lucky to have an older brother and sister who let me rifle their record collections when they went out, so Pink Floyd, Yes, Wishbone Ash, Gryphon, Led Zeppelin and actually too many to name are all their whirling round from a very early age…as well as The Osmonds and Suzie Quatro, what a mix. Then of course Punk happened.

 

John PIlgrim: The countryside is clearly important to you. What role does it play in relation to your music, songwriting and general outlook on life?

 

Sarah Dean: I moved out of York in 1997 and actually just needed the fields and trees around me all the time…birdsong especially.  I’m drawn to nature and the constant changing of the seasons is always a fascination to me.  Being outdoors for me frees the mind and nurtures the soul and I think I have written about this quite a lot.  We write about things we know generally, don’t we? So writing a song about cloud watching or running down a hill with my dog seems a good a topic as any!

 

John Pilgrim: Are you interested in the new nature writing – if so, which writers particularly appeal to you?

 

Sarah Dean: I am an avid reader of all things nature wise: Roger Deakin, John Lewis-Stempel, J.A Baker, Thomas Pakenham, Robert MacFarlane. I hoover up books like these – glorious writing!  Nan Shepherd, Christopher Somerville.  I’ve just finished Peter Wohllebens’ The Hidden Life of Trees. Books that you can come back to and dip in again. It’s great that there’s so many new writers too, if we can get people reading and appreciating the countryside and nature then hopefully we can look after it better!

 

John Pilgrim: I understand that your creative talents have extended to other outlets such as music for meditation, poetry and animated vikings. Can you tell us more?

 

Sarah Dean: I’ve recorded a lot of music for meditation and actually the harp is just fabulous for this.  Again, creating atmospheres and soundscapes that can take you to other places.  We live in a world of constant mind traffic and the need for mindfulness and meditation is key to mental health.  I’ve been asked to do various projects to put poetry to music, our dear friend Don Walls was someone who I collaborated with doing joint concerts, song and poem swapping.

 

John Pilgrim: Your performances often include a little bit of humour and you clearly enjoy the engagement you have with audiences…

 

Sarah Dean: I must admit that given the chance I’d probably like to do a bit of stand up comedy. It’s true I do love to have a bit of banter with the audience, I’m very much of the opinion that this time with the audience is a one-off event and it’s about communication, not just through song but the whole rapport that you can build up.  It’s probably a reaction against seeing Van Morrison in concert and I seriously don’t think he said a single word to the audience.

 

Performing and sharing the music and songs with an audience and having an interaction is really important to me, but it depends where you are, so each concert is different in that respect.  Working in bands is always fun, because you never know what could or might happen.  In the last couple of years I’ve been on the road with The Heather Findlay Band and whenever she’s trying to tune the guitar I slip into a bit of Tubular Bells just to fill the time…having Spinal Tap moments like when my a cappella trio Soundsphere played at The Sage in a choir festival and we couldn’t find the stage and ended up getting very lost.  Being asked to play the theme from Blackadder for a wedding, yes it’s possible.  I’m working on a harp version of Popcorn as we speak…no, I really am!

 

John Pilgrim: The Black Swan in York is well known to you, but Swansongs will be your first Folk Horror Revival event. What are your expectations of the night?

 

Sarah Dean: I’ve got a feeling that we’ll be making some musical magic at the Swansongs gig and I’m looking forward to meeting all the musicians and hearing their music. The Black Swan holds lots of happy memories for me and the Wolfe Room is so atmospheric, the ambiance it creates will make for a really special night and I’m delighted to have the chance to play a part in it.

 

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Swansongs takes place May 12th at the Black Swan in York. The last few remaining tickets are still available for this fabulous event from the following eventbrite link, but get in quick as numbers are very limited and we are getting close to selling out.

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

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Mayday Mixtape

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A special treat for all Folk Horror Revivalists. This seasonal Mayday mixtape features Paul Giovanni, Sharron Kraus, Shirley Collins, The Hare and the Moon, Children of Alice, Pink Floyd, Circulus, Inkubus Sukkubus and loads more. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

oh how the swans are singing …

Tickets still available – purchase soon to avoid disappointment …
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John Pilgrim and Folk Horror Revival proudly present ‘Swansongs’, an evening of haunting music at the Black Swan Inn, York featuring Sharron Krauss, Hawthonn and Sarah Dean.

for more information – visit here

 

 

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.

 

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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Swansongs

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John Pilgrim and Folk Horror Revival proudly present ‘Swansongs’, an evening of haunting music at the Black Swan Inn, York featuring Sharron Krauss, Hawthonn and Sarah Dean.

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Sharron Kraus is a singer of folk songs, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose solo work and collaborations offer a dark and subversive take on traditional music. As well as drawing on the folk traditions of England and Appalachia, her music is influenced by gothic literature, surrealism, myth and magick. Her songs tell intricate tales of rootless souls, dark secrets and earthly joys, the lyrics plucked as sonorously as her acoustic guitar.

She has released six solo albums, the first of which, ‘Beautiful Twisted’, was named by Rolling Stone in their Critics’ Top Albums of 2002. As well as her solo work, Sharron has recorded an album of traditional songs – ‘Leaves From Off The Tree’ – with Meg Baird and Helena Espvall of Espers, written an album of songs to celebrate the seasons of the year – ‘Right Wantonly A-Mumming’ – which was recorded with some of England’s finest traditional folk singers including Jon Boden, Fay Hield and Ian Giles – as well as recording and performing as a duo – Rusalnaia – with Ex Reverie’s Gillian Chadwick, with Tara Burke (Fursaxa) as Tau Emerald and with Irish free-folk collective United Bible Studies.

 

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Hawthonn  are Mugwort-smoking suburban witches. Sinister wailing from abandoned cooling towers. New observatories for atomic occultism. Synth-haloed chanting from the caverns of the blood moon. Gnostic pentagrams and underground spectralism.

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Sarah Dean aka The Incredible String Blonde, has been writing her own music and ‘noodling’ for years on various instruments, but only since 2007 has Sarah finally pulled all the years of performance as a singer and hours of practice together, to go solo and write and perform her own songs. 
It is the Celtic Harp that allows Sarah to create rich textures and atmospheres to the words and meaning of a song, taking listeners to another place with its magical and mesmeric soundscapes.   Peppered amongst her own self-penned songs are some surprising contemporary covers (the bluesy Man In The Long Black Coat, Pink Floyds’ atmospheric Grantchester Meadows, Walking On The Moon by The Police etc) and beautifully arranged traditional folk songs.  20 years of performing have given Sarah a relaxed and easy stage presence and audiences are treated to amusing anecdotes.

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Dating from the 15th century, The Black Swan Inn is a half-timbered pub with rooms is a block from the River Foss, a 10 minute walk from York Castle and a 5-10 minute walk from Jorvik Viking Centre.

Its traditional rooms all include en suite bathrooms and antique, 4-poster beds with rich draperies. Parking and breakfast are complimentary.

They boast a wood panelled restaurant with coffered ceilings and an open fireplace where we serve food daily, and two beer gardens where you can relax with a drink when the sun comes out.

Within this early 15th century merchant’s mansion various ghostly sightings have occurred.

There is a ghost of the gentleman in a bowler hat who appears to be impatiently waiting for someone at the bar – eventually his apparition slowly fades away.

Another ghost can be seen sitting staring into the fire in the bar. It is the ghost of a particularly beautiful young woman thought to be a jilted bride. It is said that should a man stare into her face he will die in ecstasy.

There are several other ghosts who appear regularly. A small boy, known affectionately to the staff as Matthew, is frequently seen in the bar and passageway. He is dressed in Victorian style clothes and is reportedly a pickpocket, which might explain the disappearance of various items kept behind the bar.

A rumoured highwayman, who we know as Jack, appears regularly in the kitchen, dressed in riding boots and a long black cloak. Interestingly, the kitchen was built over the original stable yard. He can also be heard singing along to Irish folk songs in the corner of the bar late at night.

A less frequent ghostly visitor is a large black cat wandering around the pub. This ghost causes confusion among staff and frequent customers alike as it bears a strong resemblance to Salem, the pubs resident feline.

The chair by the fire is reputedly cursed and it is said that should anyone sit in it a curse will fall upon them. We recommend standing.

There have been regular sightings of a pair of legs disappearing up the stairs leading to the landlord’s flat. We believe the landlord may have to be legless himself to dare to sleep there!

In the main bar area there is a clay pipe mounted on the wall. This pipe was found during restoration work. It is said that the workmen threw it out and at that very moment a chill descended upon them. There was a moment of frozen fear until one of them went to retrieve the pipe, after which the chill lifted. The pipe will always remain in the pub for fear of high electricity bills.

The Black Swan Inn – 23 Peasholme Green, York YO1 7PR

Tickets for Swansongs are available now £10 + small booking fee from –
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379
Event is likely to sell out so please book soon to avoid disappointment.

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Wyrd Harvest Press: 10% discount and Free Shipping on all our books*

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Claim 10% Discount + Free Shipping on all Folk Horror Revival / Wyrd Harvest Press books* by entering code BOOKSHIP18 at checkout at –

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek

*offer expires at one minute to midnight Monday 5th February 2018

(To change prices to your local currency, select your nation’s flag at the top of the sales webpage)

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Wyrd Harvest Press books explore the landscapes of Folk Horror and related realms in film, tv, books, art, music, events and other media and also psychogeography, hauntology, folklore, cultural rituals and costume, earth mysteries, archaic history, hauntings. southern gothic, ‘landscapism / visionary naturalism & geography’, backwoods horror, murder ballads, carnivalia, dark psychedelia, wyrd forteana and other strange edges.

100% of profits from FHR / Wyrd Harvest Press books sold in this online store will be charitably donated at intervals to different environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by the Wildlife Trusts.

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FHR Young Artists of the Month: January 2018

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Folk Horror Revival is proud to present the Young Artist of the Month winner for January 2018 as Luis Dutton . His winning picture was this great rendition of Stonehenge shown above, the following drawings are also by Luis.
He wins a copy of the book Hares in the Moonlight by Sharron Kraus.

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We also received these fantastic pictures below from other Young Artists.

Esme Dutton
by Esme Dutton

Max Whistlecraft
by Max Whistlecraft

Mai Newholmby Mia Newholm
Ava Paananen
by Ava Paananen

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To enter your child’s art into the Folk Horror Revival: Young Artist of the Month competition –

Please send scans or photographs of the child’s work by email to fhryoungartistawards@gmail.com

Please include the child’s name and age
(the competition is open to children up to the age of 12).

Please include a postal address so that we can send a certificate to each young artist and the book to that month’s winner. (Email and postal addresses will not be shared online nor with any other party and will be used by us only in association to this competition. )

By submitting the child’s work you agree to us potentially publishing it in a book containing all the Young Artist competition entries (the book would likely be printed in black and white). Such a book will be non-profit for Folk Horror Revival / Wyrd Harvest Press with all sales profits being charitably donated to The Wildlife Trusts environmental, community and conservation projects.
All young artists will be granted a free PDF digital copy of the book, (as we utilise Print on Demand and are non profit, we are alas unable to supply young artists with hard-copy paper editions of the book).

The monthly winner of the competition will receive a copy of the book
Hares in the Moonlight by Sharron Krauss.
All Young artists will receive a little Thank You by post.

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Hares in the Moonlight

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A tale of magic and adventure for readers aged 8 – 12 in the tradition of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper. Twins Lucy and Jay rescue a caged hare and then follow it to a moonlit gathering of hares. They find themselves falling into a world of shapeshifting and becoming hares themselves.

To celebrate the Full Cold (Super)Moon, Wyrd Harvest Press are delighted to present Hares in The Moonlight – a magical tale for older children by the accomplished singer-songwriter Sharron Kraus

Save 10% with the code BOOKCALSAVE
at checkout at – http://www.lulu.com/…/hares…/paperback/product-23432343.html
Offer ends December 4th at 23:59

100% of profits from FHR / Wyrd Harvest Press books sold in the Lulu store will be charitably donated at Solstices and Equinoxes to different environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by the Wildlife Trusts.

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Awakening the Fields …

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FOLK HORROR REVIVAL Proudly Presents
֍ AWAKENING THE FIELDS ֍
An afternoon of talks and live music featuring ~
SHARRON KRAUS
THE CONSUMPTIVES featuring THE MOTHER OF CROWS

CHRISTOPHER JOSIFFE + CHRIS HILL ~ Gef the Talking Mongoose
ANDY ROBERTS ~ Alan Garner’s Thursbitch
JUSTIN HOPPER ~ the Old Weird Albion
HANNAH GILBERT ~ Old Gods’ Own Country
DARREN CHARLES + ANDY PACIOREK ~ An Introduction to Folk Horror

Compere – BOB FISCHER

All for the princely sum of 5 English pounds 🙂
Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield.
Saturday October 28th 2017 12 -4.30pm

Tickets availble now from –

http://www.hepworthwakefield.org/whatson/folk-horror-revival-awakening-the-fields/

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