Sharron Kraus

The Magic of Place

This paper is an exploration of my relationship with a particular place – Mid Wales – and the music it inspired. At the same time it's an exploration of something much more general and wide-reaching: what happens to us when we're affected profoundly and inspired by a place. By looking at the different factors that made Mid Wales so rich and inspiring to me, and the creative process involved in drawing out music from the landscape, I develop a theory about (magical) reality; about what makes our experiences of certain places and things charged, rich and 'hypperreal'.

Some people focus on the supernatural in explaining magical experience and would tend to assume that the charged experiences we have in certain places are the result of the inherent (supernatural) qualities of the place. My approach focuses instead on the ways our creative work interacts with the world and creates extra 'layers' that become part of reality. The myths and stories we tell about a place become part of the reality of that place and inspire further experiences of wonder.

Sharron Kraus is a folk musician and composer inspired by traditional music, psychedelia, horror soundtracks, surrealism, mythology and gothic and magical literature. She has released five solo albums, the first of which, 'Beautiful Twisted', was named by Rolling Stone in their Critics' Top Albums of 2002. She is one of the musicians focused on in Jeanette Leech's Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid, Psych and Experimental Folk.

She has a D.Phil. in Philosophy from the University of Oxford.