Radio Show – Episode 32 – Veil Between the Worlds – November 5, 2017

With light moving into darkness, and life releasing into death, the shift to late Autumn heralds the Ancestor time of year. On today’s show, we enjoy music ripe with mystery and magic in celebration of when the “Veil Between the Worlds” is thin.

12:01: Slainte Mhath – Silver Spear
12:04: Loreena McKennitt – All Souls Night (Live at the Alhambra)
12:11: Harper Tasche – Voices on the Wind
12:14: Cara Dillon – She Moved Through the Fair
12:19: Kate Rusby – Ghost
12:27: Gretchen Yanover – Myth
12:31: Ann Heymann – Lamentation of Youths
12:33: Fiona Hunter – Maccrimmon’s Lament
12:39: Afro Celt Sound System – Release
12:47: Jane Valencia – Cum Essem Parvulus
12:50: Spookytree (Deb Knodel & Jane Valencia) – Lochaber No More
12:51: Lydia Violet – Lullaby
12:56: Don McLean – Babylon

Listen to the Forest Halls Celtic here

Radio Show – Episode 15 – A Wondrous and Spooky Samhain – October 30, 2016

Enjoy some musical fun and magic, as we celebrate the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced “SOW-wen”). If you love the Celtic harp, you’ll be pleased to hear a number of creative and lively harp pieces in today’s show.

12:01: Loreena McKennitt – Samain Night
12:05: Damh the Bard – Samhain Eve
12:15: Margot Krimmel and Laura Melling – Once Upon A Time
12:17: Spookytree – Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
12:20: Sileas – The Dusty Windowsill
12:28: Anne Roos – A Bruxa (The Witch)
12:33: Ruaidhri – Castlerigg
12:33: Two tales from Folk Tales from Wales
12:39: Solas – Am I Born to Die     **added to the 2019 edition of this show**
12:42: Cynthia Artish – Angry Birdz
12:45: Kristen Lawrence – Souling Song (Samhain Version)
12:54: Caravan of Thieves – Raise the Dead

Listen to the latest show on demand

Show15-180dpiFormat: “Track Title” – Artist (CD Title)

“Samain Night” – Loreena McKennitt (Parallel Dreams)
A beautiful piece with harp by the mistress of musical magic herself! Loreena’s music is perfect for this episode.

“Samhain Eve” – Damh the Bard (The Hills they are Hollow)
Another heartful piece by Damh the Bard that brings the listener into lore and magic of Samhain.

“Once Upon a Time” – Margot Krimmel & Laura Melling
A sweet, poetic expression of harp and storytelling. Laura’s lovely voice and words, and Margot’s masterful harp playing carry the listener into pure enchantment.

“Abbots Bromley Horn Dance” – Spookytree (On a Snowy Eve)
Abbots Bromley is a village in Staffordshire, England which has a yearly folk dance where six dancers wear reindeer ‘horns’ that date back to the 11th century, and may have been imported from Scandinavia. Historians speculate about the origins of the dance, but it seems likely to me that it was originally performed ceremonially, to encourage a successful hunt.

In this version, Deb and I play on nylon- and wire-strung harps. Listen for Deb’s “ghost” wire-strung harp at then end!

“The Dusty Windowsill” – Sileas (Harpbreakers)
Any inspired moment is an opportunity for creating a tune. Here Patsy Seddon (electric harp) and Mary MacMaster (wire-strung harp) find wondrous inspiration, taking a dusty windowsill to a realm beyond imagining.

Information about the tune, posted 14 years ago on The Session website:

The Dusty Windowsills was written by a man in Chicago, Illinois by the name of John Harling, it is NOT a traditional tune because the man is very much alive, he is in his 40s.

HOW THE TUNE GOT IT’S NAME: one day John was looking for something in his friend’s appartment basement, and this tune popped into his head. He looked everywhere for something to write with and on. He came across a window with a layer of dust on it, and started to write it down, so that later he would come back and write it down on a piece of paper. Isn’t that interesting…? Once again the man’s name is JOHN HARLING…I know all of this because I am his 15 year old daughter…

“A Bruxa (The Witch)” – Anne Roos (A Light in the Forest)
A beautiful piece by Anne. This is a witch I think I’d enjoy meeting in the greenwood!

Ruaidhri – Castlerigg (Celtic Landscapes) – music

Robin Gwyndaf of the Museum of Welsh Life (Welsh Folk Tales) – tale
This bilingual book narrates legends and traditions, placing them in physical locations in Wales. In fact, for the publication of this book, an illustrated map was commissioned in which Margaret D. Jones that depicts images from these tales in their locations.
Against the backdrop of “Castlerigg” I read aloud fairy folklore from “Aberdyfi, Gwynedd” and “Gilfach Fargoed, Mid Glamorgan.”

“Angry Birdz” – Cynthia Artish (Beyond all Telling)
A year before the famous game by the same name was published, Cynthia had a frustrating experience with a software company that fueled her to play her harp in a different way. This piece is a result of discovering that harp can effectively express her edgier emotions.
Cynthia put jute twine through all the strings to get the special effect that takes the harp out of the “pretty” realm.

Cynthia has sheet music available if you’re a harper interested in playing this piece. It’s a fun piece for harp groups to play as well! Visit her website to find out about it.

“Souling Song (Samhain Version)” – Kristen Lawrence  (A Broom with a View)
Kristen is an organist, composer, and singer who loves Halloween. In fact,her music-creation focuses on creating Halloween Carols(tm) that are fun and charming. This is one!

“Raise the Dead” – Caravan of Thieves (The Funhouse)

Caravan of Thieves is a gypsy-swing folk band based in Connecticut. Head over to Youtube to watch the video of this song. Discussing the video, Fuzz Sangiovanni (who with his wife Carrie Sangiovanni are the core of the group) told

“We like writing songs about ghosts and afterlife, but this was the first one that had a big communal sing-along, clap-along feel to it. It needed to be, since it’s about throwing a big party for all the deceased and honoring them for their life’s achievements. We perform it live this way, get off stage, unplug completely, get the crowd to surround us, and stomp, clap and sing along. We recorded it this way for the album and made a video with the same feel, in a really old theater and cemetery.”

What a wonderful concept: in the coming week or two, let’s all throw a party for the dead and celebrate them! Thank you to Mark Morey for introducing me to this song and this band. (By the way, Mark is a special guest on our next show, “Ancestral Land.”

Halloween Secrets + Books, Dragons, and Harp Upcoming Event

It was a dark and drenched night!

Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie hosts its annual Halloween celebration with a long line of candlelit jack o'lanterns, free harvest soup and salad, music, and amazing community.
Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie hosts its annual Halloween celebration with a long line of candlelit jack o’lanterns, free harvest soup and salad, music, and amazing community.

Rain has returned to our corner of the Pacific Northwest, as well as mischievous flurries of wind. Leaves spin from the trees, and my chickens look like soggy dust mops.

Still, the island was lively with kids of all ages delighting in the annual “uptown” (to use correct island lingo) Trick or Treating — some, like myself, in modified costume to more appropriately weather the Spirit World above emptying their bathtubs.

With which magical creature “skin” did you, your loved ones, and neighbors cloak upon yourselves? Whether fanciful or fearsome, the costume we choose reveals something about a “power” or gift we yearn to express or grow in ourselves, a fear with which we may be dancing, or some other very special flame of your soul.

I encourage you to step into your Magical Naturalist self, and explore the clues before you, visible in that Halloween costume choice. What “animal force” (true nature) power is revealed? Or … is the Trickster present here — and that costume is a bit like Coyote, Raven, or Fox — dancing a bit of mayhem, a joke, or mystery into the moment?

Read on for some Magical Naturalist tips for discovering the truly wondrous in this Threshold time of the year.

Upcoming Event

Books and Dragons for the Holidays! Harp too!

My daughter Amri and I will have a table at the Holly Daze Bazaar.
When: Saturday, November 21, 2015 – 10am to 4PM.
Where: McMurray Middle School cafeteria,
9329 Cemetery Rd SW, Vashon Island, WA
There, you’ll find:

  • a fair of Amri’s Dragons eager to fly home with you to perch on your shoulder or serve as the perfect gift for a dragon lover
  • a stack of contemporary fantasy novels ready to carry you or a loved one into the magic that is all around us.
  • I will offer live harp music and free micro harp lessons. We’ll also have news about my newest harp learning opportunities, which could provide a beautiful start for your New Year.

If you live on or near Vashon, do drop by!