Here is an interview we had with Sharon Knight in August 2013! This interview first appeared in issue 2 of the Wyldwood Radio Newsletter.
Wyldwood Radio: You seem to have a great love of whimsy and fanciful delight in your life. I must know – what was your childhood like? Where did you grow up?
Sharon: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Redwood City, to be exact, about an hour south of my current home in Oakland. I certainly wouldn’t describe my childhood as idyllic, but I did have a very vivid imagination. My Dad was also very whimsical and artistic, so I probably got a lot of that from him. He was a school teacher, had a love of travel, and was an excellent illustrator. He drew us pictures of whatever we could think of. He also moved the entire family to Thailand for an “adventure” for a year. It was wonderful. I think, like my Dad, I retreat into worlds of whimsy and delight as a buffer against the harsher edges of life. And also, to stand for something beautiful. I often talk about wanting to re-enchant the world. To bring beauty, whimsy, and fanciful delight to the world through music or the arts contributes to a sense of enchantment, I think.
Wyldwood Radio: What was your introduction to music – formal or informal?
Sharon: It was informal. Again, my Dad. He had a lot of folk albums from the 60’s around when I was growing up and I just loved them. He also listened to a lot of classical music. Then when I was 18, I discovered Celtic music and immediately wanted to learn how to play it. There was someone I worked with at a natural foods store who played and knew a bunch of songs, so he taught me and we started playing out around town. Since then I have learned mostly at folk music camps and the like. They don’t have much formal training for folk musicians, at least not that I have found!
Wyldwood Radio: A lot of modern pagan/spiritual musicians tell me that they can’t pigeonhole themselves into a single tradition, path, or creed. How would you describe yourself, spiritually?
Sharon: Heh, well I am in that same boat as well. I am initiated into the Anderson Feri tradition. I have relationships with a handful of deities, and hold a special place in my heart for my Celtic-Norse ancestral heritage. More and more, I value re-constructionist movements as a more serious, in-depth expression of Pagan religion.
Wyldwood Radio: What musical styles, or performers, would you consider to be your greatest influence?
Sharon: Steeleye Span, Fair-port Convention, Pentangle, Loreena McKennitt, Lisa Gerrard, lots of Finnish metal, traditional Scandinavian and Celtic music of all kinds.
Wyldwood Radio: When people come to a Sharon Knight or a Pandemonaeon show, what would you like them to come away with?
Sharon: A sense of magic. A sense that a portal to something entirely other, and epic, opened up for them.
Wyldwood Radio: Besides music and your Etsy shop, what other projects are you involved with?
Sharon: I have an online membership circle called the Ring of Enchantment, for whom I write essays on magic, creativity, and enchantment, with accompanying music-driven practices, which I write the music for. It is basically a support structure for folks looking to rekindle a sense of enchantment in their lives.
Wyldwood Radio: Where can people go to learn about the world and the future of Sharon Knight?
Sharon: My website. http://www.sharonknight.net. Most of my news happens on my blog.
Wyldwood Radio: You obviously have a very strong affection for the sea. If you could become any sea creature for a week, which one would you become, and why?
Sharon: Probably a seal, because they are such agile swimmers, and they get to bask in the sun and eat all the seafood they want.
Wyldwood Radio: And, the obligatory silly question. If you could have a dinner conversation with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Sharon: Grace O’Malley, the Irish pirate queen. For fiercely living on her own terms and standing up to England, not just for herself, but for her clan.
Visit Sharon’s website here: www.sharonknight.net