Which are the best folklore podcasts to help you learn and wonder as you walk the less-travelled path? With interest in global folklore on the rise, we’ve picked some of our favourites and listed them here.
It’s new on the block, but the well-stocked Oddity podcast is dedicated to all things unusual, like local legends and cryptozoology. Be lulled by the storytelling qualities of Rowan Molyneux’s voice as she explores the Hand of Glory’s folk roots and much more. These ten-minute episodes make the Oddity podcast an ideal accompaniment to that magical morning cup of tea, so you can start your day with a sense of wonder.
Feminist Folklore Podcast
It can get frustrating when folk tales are permeated with a male perspective. However, the Feminist Folklore Podcast explores women’s perspectives in 30-minute examinations of familiar tales like The Wife of Bath and The Little Mermaid. Your delightful feminist folklore hosts are Rachel Marr and Carlea Holl-Jensen, and they’re ready to include you on their journey.
Singing Bones Podcast
In one of our favourite folklore podcasts, Clare Testoni explores the origins of fairy tales to see where their roots lie. Accompanied by atmospheric classical music, she sneaks into the souls of tales like the Pied Piper and Bluebeard. As an example, she disseminates The Red Shoes, Hans Christian Andersen’s violent classic tale, to she light on the author’s personal perspective. She also explores the ties between red, footwear, dance and the Devil. Each tale is viewed through a kaleidoscope, and the results are fascinating indeed.
Uncanny Japan Podcast
Thersa Matsuura applies depth rather than breadth to topics, and dedicates each 15-minute episode to an aspect of Japanese folklore. July’s episode considers the senninbari, which is a sash of fortune that WW2 soldiers wore to deflect bullets and impart strength. From language quirks to cultural traditions, Thersa explains why you should never cut your nails at night – and more!
Nicole Schmidt has created a series of folklore podcasts which are dedicated to a variety of world regions. They include: Lore Britannia, Folklorica Slavica, Folklorica Nordica, and Folklorica Baltica. With a musical ambient background, each episode will introduce a theme then present retellings of four folk tales, offering key insights to modern listeners. The folklore traditions covered here often have a darker edge, so you’ll most certainly find Baba Yaga and demon dogs. There’ll be tales of unquiet spirits, and Soviet urban myths. Expect a cornucopia of beasts, witches, places and more. Listen.
The Folklore Tapes Podcast
If you like it a little witchy, or perhaps a little weird – genuinely weird – The Folklore Tapes could be the folklore podcast for you. Their aim is to bring the folk records and arcane practices of Britain to life in a unique, eerie way. This isn’t a folklore podcast where you’ll be listening to someone talk constantly to you, or eavesdropping on a group’s conversation. Instead, the Folklore Tapes seek to impart knowledge by evoking feeling through musical reinterpretation and sampling.
You’ll pick up snippets of folk songs, ancient recipes and practices… all wrapped up in a soundscape enveloping you like a wet cave. Each ten-minute session leaves you feeling like ancient Britain is far stranger than recorded history gives it credit for. When a session ends, you may find yourself hitting ‘replay’, so you can step into the magic once more.
The Folklore Podcast
This established folklore podcast is the work of Mark Norman, a folklore researcher, author and committee member of both The Folklore Society and The Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. The Folklore Podcast eschews the unexplained and paranormal, and instead it keeps an especially tight focus on folklore traditions. Some really fantastic guests come on the Folklore Podcast to explore everything from symbolic animal ritual totems, like the hobby horse, to modern fairy sightings. While some episodes are Patreon-only, worry not, for there is still plenty to get your teeth into.
Wyrd Kalendar Podcast
The monthly Wyrd Kalendar podcast is closely tied with Folk Horror Revival, a community which has done a lot to nurture the resurgence of all things folk horror. If you’re looking to shake up your music in a folklore stylee, then you’ll need to listen up and add this one to your podcast favourites.
Each hour-long monthly episode is packed with music which relates to folklore traditions associated with that month. Episodes also feature storytime interludes, with extracts from Chris Lambert’s forthcoming Wyrd Kalendar book (illustrations by Andy Paciorek).
The August podcast serves its listeners a Lammas feast of music, and there is too great a range to list here but bands include Magnet, The Owl Service, Beacon Street Union, Bebel Gilberto, The Tiger Lilies, Carole King, Funkadelic, Hall and Oates, Julie London, Lost Trail, The The and Isla Cameron. Beware, for the willows are on the move.
If folk music is what you love, then you may also enjoy listening to the following playlists on Mookychick:
Recommend your favourite folklore podcasts and help the traditions live on
Witch bottles and folk charms. Wood spirits and rhymes to ward off the evils of the night. Folklore traditions around the world are a treasure trove of cultural knowledge, and their flame was in danger of burning out. However, academic guardians, modern practitioners and the eternally curious are helping to rekindle that light – as are we all.
Finally, if your favourite folklore podcasts aren’t mentioned here, please get in contact us and we’ll add them to the list if time allows!
Tagged in: folklore and folk horror, playlists and podcasts