Like many of our holidays, Halloween has morphed into something far from its origins. Now it is a time for children to dress up as just about anything, and ask for candy, and for adults to put on masks and behave very badly.
The only thing that is intact from the past is the change of the seasons. We are approaching the end of harvest and the beginning of winter, a “gathering in” of life, and a biding through temporary death (Winter). It is during this in-between time that the ancient Celts celebrated Samhain, and donned costumes with which to confront the spirits of departed ancestors. The rise of Christianity transformed the holiday into “All Hallows Eve” and from there, it became Halloween.
I present to you a Halloween song from England played by the formidable “Show of Hands.” I shot this a while back, but it remains a favorite song for ushering in this time of the year. And if you have never heard this remarkable power trio, you are in for a real treat.
The performance took place at the English Folk Expo or EFEX, in Bury, a suburb of Manchester. Although I love English folk music, I had never heard of a single artist that performed during those three intensive days. The level of musicianship was amazingly high, and certainly one of the most memorable performances was by Show of Hands, who packed the spacious Drill Hall in the Castle Armory. “Hallow’s Eve” was written by Chris Hoban, a music teacher and friend of the band from their hometown of Topsham in Devon. While everyone in the trio sings and plays marvelously, I particularly enjoy the moment when Miranda Sykes sweeps the first note on her bass with the bow during the 2nd instrumental break. What a tone.
What a tune.
For more information about Show of Hands visit: showofhands.co.uk/ For more information about the EFEx visit: englishfolkexpo.com/