Many years ago in a galaxy far far away, two worlds collided when a friend shared his love for Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series. I surprised him by playing Shadow Stalker, which I had because of my love for Heather Alexander’s music. Lackey’s “poems” were given more depth and came alive through the musical contributions of many. These musical “audio books” were my introduction to filk before I even knew the term or genre.
Since then, my love for filk has grown, as has my music collection. Sitting in a roomful of people singing songs, jamming, and telling stories brings one back to the old ways of entertainment, before electricity. And if one just wants to listen and knit, they’re more than welcome to do so. Either way, filk sessions are a lot of fun. But seeing as how I can’t attend science-fiction/fantasy conventions or concerts with any regularity, CDs are the next best thing.
Here are some of the filkers I’ve come to like and enjoy through the years, and since their websites are already linked, the links below connect to sound bytes. Anyone else got filk?
Wild Mercy: A stellar eclectic Celtic band with tones of blues, jazz, rock that range from traditional folk to the intergalactic. Between Debbie’s and Jen’s beautiful vocals, Barry’s rich baritone, Sally’s percussion, a 12-string guitar, a (gorgeous!) Celtic harp, and a plethora of other instruments, they have a lot of music at their fingertips.
Vixy & Tony: A fabulous filk duo whose songs vary from enchanting to humorous to rockish. And I can’t forget to mention those that were inspired by Joss Whedon’s Firefly series, like “Mal’s Song”. I’m finding Thirteen somewhat addicting, especially “Six String Love” with it’s lyrics like “drop your D right in front of me and I might forget just who I am”.
Tom Smith: He’s weird, he’s wacky, he’s the world’s fastest filker. Be it Firefly, Star Wars, or politicians, nothing is safe from becoming a song. That’s okay, it adds to the laughter one can’t contain. I try to avoid comparing artists, but Tom is the Weird Al Yankovic of the filk community.
S.J. Tucker: She has a voice full of soul and power and her bardic magic will enfold and hypnotize in its warmth of song and storytelling. Skinny White Chick’s acoustic folk spans from lullabyes, punk rock, spiritual, and then some. S.J’s done a few albums tied in with the urban fantasy books by Catherynne M. Valente, both of The Orphan’s Tales and the soon-to-be released Palimpsest. She is also a Tricky Pixie.
Michael Longcor: I don’t know where to begin with “Moonwulf”, who is definitely different and unique- in a good way. His songs are hysterical and his performances memorable, to say the least. My one regret is that it’s been several years since I’ve seen him.
Mercedes Lackey: Author meets lyricist for the soundtracks that accompany her Valdemar and Bedlam Bards series. The albums feature numerous musicians, including Michael Longcor, Lief Sorbye of the Celtic rock band Tempest, and even another guy I’ve seen at a filk session.
Heather Alexander: This fiery fiddler provided something for everyone- English folk songs, rowdy reels, gypsy tunes, Mideastern tones, sea shanties, and songs for children of all ages. Solo, band, and Valdemar projects aside, “the Bard” also did the soundtracks for Irene Radford’s Merlin’s Descendants, Steve Barnes’s Lion’s Blood, and Andre Norton’s Witch World.
Barry and Sally Childs-Helton: Because they’re worth mentioning again, Barry and Sally’s bluesy folk rock is a trip to the outer limits. Barry’s vocals and 12-string guitar and Sally’s plethora of percussion will leave one at their wild mercy.
Alexander James Adams: Whether performing alone or with his fellow Tricky Pixies, the faerie tale minstrel will set feet aflame and hearts to singing.
Tricky Pixie and an “Alligator in the House”…because it’s fun:
Vixy & Tony’s Firefly inspired “Dawson’s Christian”:
S.J. Tucker’s “I’m So Sorry”, a love note to fandom:
(Disclaimer, she’s a Browncoat ally)