Fear of the Forest

UK's Leading Dulcimercore Band


...dealing in dark folk tales and true stories of family murders, shipwrecks, ancient demons and modern horrors



21 April 2018 – BXHS 2nd Annual Record Store Day Market

Saturday between 11:00–18:00 Brixton Hill Studios 126 Brixton Hill, Unit 1, SW2 1RS London, United Kingdom ...
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17 Feb 2018 – Winter Tales: The Witching Hour

A beguilingly dark evening of spellbinding songs and enchanting words. An evening of the sorcerous and the uncanny, the other ...
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The Harrison, King's Cross (details here), 17th December 2017

Live radio session for the Hello Goodbye show on Resonance FM, 16th December 2017

The Strongroom, Shoreditch, 28th September 2017


15 June at the Windmill, Brixton.

The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon, London, 24th March 2017 (for We're Not Kids Anymore)

Paper Dress Vintage, London, 25th January 2017


New River Studios, London, 12th November 2016 (album launch)

Green Note, Camden, London, 4th March 2016


The Hideaway, London, 3rd December 2015

Lime Wharf, London, 17th July 2015 (with Penny Orchids)

The Windmill, Brixton, London, 22nd June 2015 (with Tolerance Manoeuvre)

The Hideaway, Archway, London, 14th May 2015

The Islington, London, 22nd February 2015


The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon, London, 16th December 2014

Club Integral at The Others, Stoke Newington, London, 24th October 2014

Surya, London, 17th October 2014

Resonance FM live session, 15th October 2014

The Windmill, Brixton, 8th June 2014


Resonance FM live radio session, 27th September 2013

The Grosvenor, Stockwell, May 2013


The Grosvenor, October 2012

The Boogaloo, July 2012


Blang! at the 12Bar, December 2011

The Windmill, Brixton, July 2011


To listen/buy our albums and songs,

please visit our BANDCAMP site.



Watch us on YouTube



Some of the people that have been involved with
Fear of the Forest so far


"The outlaws, the outcasts, the bewildered, the ecstatic - these are among those who have sought out the forest's asylum..."

Robert Pogue Harrison - Forests: The Shadow of Civilization

Fear of the Forest is a hammered dulcimer-led ensemble formed in London in 2012 and fronted by Kate Arnold on dulcimer, violin and vocals. The band combines influences from English and French folk, medieval, Renaissance, Middle Eastern and classical music to create a sound that has been described as 'punk baroque'. The songs draw upon folk and fairy tales, mythology, social history, dystopian doom, tensions between technology and humanity, and the strange tales of Kate's half-gypsy grandmother.

"The start of domestication, or taming of nature, is seen in a cultural ordering of the wild ... the female as a cultural category seen as wild or dangerous dates from this period ... The non-domesticated know that only the present can be total ... People are being stretched and beaten on the rack of everyday emptiness, and the spell of civilisation is fading ... the means of reproducing the prevailing Death Ship (e.g. its technology) cannot be used to fashion a liberated world ... The truly humanitarian impulse is that which is committed to relentlessly destroying the malignant dynamic known as civilisation..."

John Zerzan - Future Primitive

At least half of the earth was once covered by trees, particularly Britain and northern and western Europe. It is thought that western Europe has now lost over 99% of its primeval forest in a process that began around 10,000 years ago - relatively recently in human history - with the shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to more settled agricultural communities and the ensuing population expansion that would lead to urbanisation. The disappearance of forested landscape has really accelerated over the last few hundred years, with most of the loss occurring in the past few decades. With the exponential growth of towns and cities in the Middle Ages we became alienated from the forest, and began to think of it as a frightening place full of beasts and monsters. It became the setting for myths, folk legends and fairy tales; associated with outlaws, outcasts and outsiders, witches, strange happenings and madness; a metaphor for the darker regions of the human psyche. Humans may be descended from forest-dwelling ancestors, but as 'civilised' people we like to feel we have left the forest behind as part of a supposedly linear trajectory we call 'progress', which we identify with technological advancement and assume to be inevitable, but which is really an illusion. For Jung, the forest was a symbol of the collective unconscious; the archetypal antithesis of reason, potentially perilous. The forest is the place beyond our control, and it remains deep in our subconscious; it is part of us. It is the place where we have transformative experiences and encounter our real, and other, selves.



Discovering new music can be like dating, sometimes the chemistry just isn’t right, other times you agree to be friends but know that you won’t see each other again apart from a probable awkward encounter at a diner party a few years down the line and just occasionally it works out beyond expectation. And in this analogy I have just turned into an annoying, lovelorn idiot, fawning over Fear of the Forest’s every move, dreaming of marriage and one day having a brood of medieval instruments of our own. If you haven’t followed that, suffice it to say that I totally love the music that Fear of the Forest make.

Dave Franklin

Dancing About Architecture
Fear of the Forest are playing the launch of their debut album ‘Fairytale Endings’. The driving force behind the band, which includes a cellist, daf player and hurdy gurdy player, is Kate Arnold who sings and alternates between violin and dulcimer. Roots steeped in dark folk, with tales of a family history that involves terrible accidents, and the futility of modern society, Kate steers us through the songs on the album with heart-warming banter, explaining (but not ‘artistsplaining’) a bit about the songs origins. The lyrics are thought provoking and the music has space that allows your own musings to float about on the soundscapes. The instrumentation, scales and shifting time signatures give the songs a middle-eastern feel at times, not hugely surprising when Kate explains how she had spent time in Syria and environs.

Jen Macro

Loud Women eZine
Fear of the Forest bring on stage some of the most alluring (well, for me at any rate) instruments ever invented, including cello, hurdy gurdy and hammered dulcimer. While this meant I'd more or less fallen for them before they'd played a note - *reactivates critical faculties* - they bring out all the instruments' strengths and somehow make their sounds work harder. There's no need for 'traditional' bass (double or electric) and no conventional rhythm guitar or keyboard either. The cello provides the melody flowing through each track and merges with the drone of the hurdy gurdy to give the arrangement its foundation. This low lead line weaves through the cascading chimes of the dulcimer, making the songs deceptively light and fleet of foot, even when the subject matter hurtles into the blackly comic. It also means that Kate Arnold's gorgeous but intimate vocals can be easily heard. Anyone who, say, rates the US band Espers or has fond memories of The Eighteenth Day of May will love this group.

Andrew Specs

Specs: Underground Sounds