Folk duo Castlebay will present a concert of music and lore for Samhain, the late autumn Celtic holiday also known as Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, 37 Miller St. This special concert will feature both traditional and contemporary songs and stories.

Before the industrial revolution, when the vast majority of people lived in a pastoral setting, this time of renewal was a natural part of the yearly cycle. The mythology, music and arts of the ancient Celtic people reflects their belief in cycles and that a cycle began in darkness. The day started at dusk and the New Year, or Samhain (pronounced sah-when), occurred at the end of October when the seed falls to the earth for a time of incubation.

Samhain is a time for both endings and beginnings; honoring the memory of things past and preparing for spring's rebirth. More than just a celebration of gathering the fruits of our physical labor, it was believed that we should show appreciation for our ancestors and reap the harvest of their wisdom and experience. The Cailleach or Old Crone of Winter makes her appearance at Samhain.

It also was believed that this is a time when the door to the "otherworld" is open and we have the opportunity to see both past and future. With this door open, the normal and supernatural mingle and all is not as it seems. Disguises and charms are necessary to confound the tricky spirits and treats are necessary to assuage them. Celtic music and poetry are rich with the symbols and imagery of this potent and mysterious time.

Castlebay’s Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee sing and play the music of the Celtic lands, interweaving music and lore in their personable performances. Accomplished vocalists, they support their singing with guitar, fiddle, tin whistle and award-winning playing of the Celtic harp. They have traveled to the British Isles and Ireland, both performing and researching the origins of their music.

Admission is $10, free for children. For more information, call 529-5438; send email to; or visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or