Kristen Lawrence | Hallowe'en: Night of Spirits

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Rock: Goth Classical: Organ Moods: Mood: Quirky
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Hallowe'en: Night of Spirits

by Kristen Lawrence

2-disc set of Halloween music ranging in style from elegant lyrical to pounding rock. Pipe organ, B3, piano, harpsichord, guitars, percussion, brass, screams. Enjoy the vocal and instrumental versions during October and throughout the entire year.
Genre: Rock: Goth
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ghoulies and Ghosties
2:53 $0.99
2. Demons
4:07 $0.99
3. Scary Fairies
4:58 $0.99
4. Hallowe'en
6:30 $0.99
5. Naked Skeletons
3:31 $0.99
6. Zombie Ambience
4:56 $0.99
7. Bumps in the Night
4:48 $0.99
8. Monsters
6:25 $0.99
9. Wickéd
4:33 $0.99
10. Jack o' Lantern
5:42 $0.99
11. Gust (Ghost Town Version)
3:59 $0.99
12. Naked Skeletons (Pipe and Drum Version)
3:31 $0.99
13. Zombie Ambience (Radio Edit)
3:31 $0.99
14. Ghoulies and Ghosties (Instrumental)
2:51 $0.99
15. Hallowe'en (Instrumental)
6:31 $0.99
16. Jack o' Lantern (Instrumental)
5:42 $0.99
17. Monsters (Instrumental)
6:25 $0.99
18. Naked Skeletons (Instrumental)
3:31 $0.99
19. Wickéd (Instrumental)
4:33 $0.99
20. Gust (Crossroads Version)
4:00 $0.99
21. Zombie Ambience (Zombies Around Steve Bartek Version)
6:29 $0.99
22. Demons (Headless Mix)
4:07 $0.99
23. Scary Fairies (Headless Mix)
4:59 $0.99
24. Bumps in the Night (Headless Mix)
4:49 $0.99
25. Visitors (Instrumental)
4:36 $0.99
26. Mostly Ghostly (Background Round)
7:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
HALLOWE'EN — Night of Spirits

Ancient Halloween fascinates me … mostly because it was a night for discerning spirits.

Pagan Celtic tribes of the British Isles believed the dead visited on the eve of Samhain (pronounced SOW-en, meaning “end of summer”). These ghostly visits could be comforting or frightening, so one must discern which visitors were benevolent — for which food offerings were set out — and which visitors were malicious — against which masks were donned to fool and lead out of town.

Whom to welcome? Whom to ward away?

The medieval Christian church adapted this festival by encouraging people to remember the departed saints, or hallows. Eventually the eve of Samhain became known as All Hallows’ Even. Over the centuries it shortened to Hallows’ E’en, then Hallow E’en, then Hallowe’en, then finally Halloween.

I’m titling this CD “Hallowe’en” to take us at least one step back into these intriguing ancient traditions. “Night of Spirits” is one of the old names for Halloween (along with Mischief Night, Nutcrack Night, Colcannon Night, Bonfire Night, Snap-Apple Night, and more).

The etymology of “haunt” relates to the concept of “home” — “to inhabit, to frequent, to reside, to house.” It also means “to visit, linger, or stay with.” Who or what do we want to haunt us? Which spirits do we invite into our abode? Which do we dismiss?

This new group of Halloween Carols™ explores various spirits that might visit us:

• “Ghoulies and Ghosties” — my setting of the traditional Scottish prayer … listen for the “Scotch snap” rhythm in the organ and vocals

• “Demons” — a demon-slaying pipe organ rock anthem with triumphant guitar slashes and galloping bass and drums … listen for the eldritch rub rods throughout the song

• “Scary Fairies” — a cute-and-dark jig telling of historical Irish superstitions and folktales about protecting oneself against the fairies who were supposedly more dangerous on Halloween … listen for the banshee guitar howls, the fairy-like organ zimbelstern (small bells), and the fairy-warning words spoken into an acoustic guitar

• “Hallowe’en” — a sweet-and-spooky counterpoint of organ and bells (and toads) … about all the trick-or-treat flavors of visitors … and friends from the other side

• “Naked Skeletons” — a pounding dance beginning and ending with bare drums, symbolic of bare bones dancing on their own

• “Zombie Ambience” — a lively romp with the dead in voodoo-jazzy-bluesy style, featuring an undead choir with B-3 and Farfisa organs … listen for the round at the end of the instrumental version

• “Bumps in the Night” — an old-timey, vaudeville-esque radio program showcasing charming and whimsical sound oddities

• “Monsters” — a tightly harmonic terror demonstrating stomping pipe organ pedals and percussive grand piano growls … listen for the odd rhythmic meters and piano string plucks

• “Wickéd” — a wafting swirl of acoustic guitars accompanying a plaintive melody mingled with stately organ interludes … about a candle, its light and warmth symbolizing visits from loved ones (dead and alive) … listen for the round in the guitars

• “Jack o’ Lantern” — a “soundtracky rock” journey with the spirits of the Old World coming to the New World, the turnip bowing out to the pumpkin, and how the jack o’ lantern tradition came to be … listen for the round in all instruments

• “Gust” — pipe organ rock featuring baritone guitar, mandolin, and gusty choir spirits … listen for the round at the end of the song and the theremin in the instrumental version

• “Visitors” — pipe organ background music to play when setting a place at the dinner table for deceased loved ones, a tradition in Mexican and Wiccan cultures … also related to the Jewish Passover practice of setting a place for Elijah

• “Mostly Ghostly” — I released two versions of this carol on A Broom With A View, but neither of my arrangements featured the round, so this version is the round only … background music for haunted houses, spook alleys, and trick-or-treat porches

Historic Halloween had much to do with fire. It was by bonfires that the Celtic druids conjured their divinations on Samhain night (their calendric new year’s eve) to foretell destinies in the coming year. In many religious rites, firelight symbolizes enlightenment from God or gods. Light allows one to discern.

(Interesting to note here that a lasting offshoot of this ancient divination practice manifested in romantic fortune telling; Halloween was commonly associated with games of romance up until the first part of the 20th century.)

Bonfire traditions carried well into recent centuries, especially in Scotland where youth begged house to house for peats to build bonfires (a related thread of trick-or-treating). Historian James Frazer observed in 1922, “In the Isle of Man also, another Celtic country, Hallowe'en was celebrated down to modern times by the kindling of fires, accompanied with all the usual ceremonies designed to prevent the baneful influence of fairies and witches.”

In “Wickéd” I mention the art term chiaroscuro (extreme contrasts of light and dark) – the atmosphere when we light the wick of a candle in a dark room. (I think the world in autumn looks like one grand chiaroscuro painting.) The spirit of the jack o’ lantern, whether in a turnip body or a pumpkin body, is fire. In “Jack o’ Lantern,” I call this spirit the “light of autumn … carved in the present, engraved with the past – haunting and beckoning fires that last!”

Discernment of spirits is an empowering force to practice year ‘round, but accompanied by the enrapturing autumnal season and insights from history, it really seems no less than … magic.

Happy Hallowe’en. Happy Night of Spirits.




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