Inaugural SCANRA: Samhain at the Cellar Announced

The line-up for the inaugural SCANRA: Samhain at the Cellar has been announced.

Coming to The Workman’s Cellar on Saturday, 4th November, 2023 at 7pm it’s a new immersive night of music, myth and storytelling celebrating the Irish origins of Samhain through the voices and mediums of modern creators.

Presented in collaboration with Workmná and The Thin Air, the night will feature live performances from acclaimed Belfast-based songwriter and pianist Clara Tracey, industrial-electronic artist Coolgirl (Lizzie Fitzpatrick, formerly of Bitch Falcon) and haunting acapella soundscapes from the Dulciana Vocal Ensemble—each set specially curated to evoke elements of the supernatural and the strange.

As well as music, the event – which is the brainchild of Julie Hough (lead singer of HAVVK), Tara Mollan (ala Runah) and Clare Martin – will feature pop-up storytelling from local spoken-word artists. SCANRA is not your average costume party. While dressing up is encouraged, attendees are invited to bring their curiosity, imaginations and their wits about them as the Cellar is transformed into a haunted tapestry of macabre. There are also rumours of one or two ghosts popping up amongst the crowd.

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in interest in Irish heritage—from language and storytelling, to traditional music and dance. Amongst this cultural upsurge has come an increased curiosity about our connection with Samhain. Ireland is the birthplace of Halloween, but in recent decades, our unique connection with this specific time of year has become diluted and commercialised. SCANRA will be a chance to come together and reconnect with our spooky heritage, listen to folktales of the past and also explore modern-day horror stories through performance and song. 

Primarily female and/or LQBTQ+ performers have been selected for the launch of SCANRA. From tales of banshees, to the real-life Salem witch trials, superstition and folklore have, for centuries, been used to tell stories which often demonised the oppressed and othered, particularly women. As with many modern horrors, SCANRA as a platform wants to turn this outdated tradition on its head, and put the work of women and other less-represented artists on a pedestal.

Go here to buy tickets to SCANRA and keep them peeled for further info.

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.