#FolkHorror: Lullaby

I have been reading the excellent biography of Shirley Jackson by Ruth Franklin, which of course makes me turn to Jackson’s own writing for various things (some books are still packed in boxes alas, and it is too hot to spend time in the garage looking for them). I decided to re-read this essay which…

It’s a Bear

In the midst of a delightful discussion about Midsommar on pal Carol’s FB wall, a few memories have bubbled up. One of them is the gas station we always stopped at on the drive up to our cabin in Kaleva. It was a long drive and we knew every turn of it. I always knew my…

Robyn Hitchcock @ Caffe Lena

To see Mr Hitchcock live is to fall in love again with his music and charm. And no I don’t say that just because he complimented me on my houndstooth wrap. At the legendary café where so many have sung, it was a delight to spend some time with the singer renowned for his wit…

TOA/V: The Living and The Dead

This programme aired last month but in the midst of the Brexit madness, it seemed to miss its audience. Folks in the Folk Horror Revival group mentioned it enthusiastically so having caught up with series three of Black Sails we were casting about for a new show and decided to give The Living and The Dead…

Sounding Out! Podcast #54: The Sound of Magic

Originally posted on Sounding Out!:
Each of the essays in this month’s “Medieval Sound” forum focuses on sound as it, according to Steve Goodman’s essay “The Ontology of Vibrational Force,” in The Sound Studies Reader, “comes to the rescue of thought rather than the inverse, forcing it to vibrate, loosening up its organized or petrified body (70).…

Louhi at @FolkloreThursday

My introduction to Louhi, witch of the north in The Kalevala, appears at @FolkloreThursday today. Folk familiar with my work know that she appears in my stories in Dream Book which were inspired by Finnish mythology in both The Kalevala and The Kanteletar. Some helpful links: The best translation of The Kalevala; the only English…

TOA/V: Bear Feast Polska

I love this version of the Bear Feast Polska by Rymäkkä. It captures the mythic heart of the song. ‘Karhunpeijaispolska’ is one of the first songs I learned to play on the kantele. I imagined cheery bears frolicking in the woods to the jaunty tune, which of course I figured out eventually had nothing to…

Magic Music

One of the important themes of Dream Book is the music of the kantele. Long time readers of this blog know well the Finnish lap harp. I have a couple of five string kanteles, a ten string made by Gerry Henkel that’s waiting for me in Dundee and a fifteen string one that I got…