Fantasy and Science Fiction Author Julia H. West
Filking With Julia

Okay, so what is filking? Filking is what people do at filksings {grin}. Actually, it's an offshoot of folksinging, and has grown rapidly in the science fiction community. We sing songs about space, about characters in science fiction and fantasy novels and movies, about computers, about fandom. . . . We also sing silly parodies (like "Weird Al" Yankovic does). Filk covers a lot of territory. Many people now are writing original songs with original music, so filk has "matured" from the days of when filk meant a song written to the tune of a Joan Baez song or "Greensleeves" and to filk meant to write those lyrics.

I've been filking ever since I discovered it at a Star Trek convention in Arizona over 25 years ago. I sidetracked into bardic in the SCA, and wrote several songs and ballads then. I haven't written many songs since I got back into SF filking, but I certainly enjoy singing and listening to other peoples' filksongs!

Filk Friends of CONduit
Filk Groups and Filkers who have appeared at CONduit, Salt Lake City's annual science fiction convention. I've been the Filk Mom for CONduit since the beginning, so I've been able to listen to many fine filkers.

Kathy Mar is our stalwart. She's come to every CONduit but the first. She's got several CDs out, all of them wonderful: "Made By Magic," with Zander Nyrond, "My Favorite Sings," songs by other people which Kathy loves to sing, and a new release of "Plus Ça Change" and "Plus C'est La Même Chose" as a two-CD set.

Echo's Children. Cat Faber used to live in Salt Lake City, so we still consider her "one of ours" even though she's moved back to the Pacific Northwest. With "Callie" Hills she formed Echo's Children, and the group has three wonderful CDs out now ("As Good As Any" is, alas, out of print). They've always been very welcome at CONduit. Buy the CDs and find lyrics and sheet music for the songs on the Echo's Children web page.

Joey Shoji only managed to come to CONduit once, but we remember him with great fondness.

Harold Groot, once part of the filk group Windbourne, has attended CONduit several times. We enjoy his voice and his excellent repertoire!

Kathleen Sloan, a filker out of Colorado, has often managed to wend her way to CONduit in May and has been our Filk Guest of Honor.

Tri-Destiny, a Salt Lake City-based soft rock group, base many of their songs on science fiction and fantasy books and are favorites at CONduit. They have two CDs out now, "Tri-Destiny" and "Dragon Wine." Contact them at tridestiny@networld.com

Charles de Lint. Although he's not a filker, when he was at CONduit as Author Guest of Honor he gave a fine folk concert--he's been in Celtic bands for many years.

Three Weird Sisters wowed CONduit with their harp, bass, drum, guitar, and wonderful harmonies. Their CD "Rite the First Time" is a definite must have.

Songs I've Written
Although lately I've been turning my creativity to writing fiction, I've written a few songs myself. Here are some of the songs I've written, with midi files of those with original tunes.

Acquiring Filk: The People
A lot of filkers have websites now. And many of them have the words to their songs at their sites. So if you want more filk, here are links to other people's filk pages.

Acquiring Filk: The Groups

  • Black Book Band, a filk band consisting of Michael Kube-McDowell, Barry and Sally Childs-Helton, Mary Ellen Wessels, and Gwen Zak.
  • Echo's Children, a filk duet out of Washington state. The site contains lyrics and sheet music (.gifs) from their three CDs.
  • N'Early Music Consort, a filk choir from England.
  • OK Chorale, a Boston-area filk/folk chorus.
  • On the Mark is a Pittsburgh area folk/filk group.
  • Ookla the Mok's page has an archive of their song lyrics.
  • Phoenix, a UK-based SF/fantasy rock/filk group (not to be confused with the defunct group Phoenyx). They've got CDs for sale, and .mp3 samples on their site.
  • Puzzlebox, a filk trio made up of Paul Kwinn, Taunya Gren, and Alisa Garcia. Their site has lyrics and .mp3 samples from their CD Assembly Required.
  • Three Weird Sisters is Brenda Sinclair Sutton, Teresa Gibson Powell, and Gwen Knighton. They have their CD "Rite the First Time" available from their website, and have lyrics for most of the songs there as well.
  • Urban Tapestry is a filk trio made up of Jodi Krangle, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and Allison Durno. You can purchase their tapes and CD from their website (which also has some of the lyrics, and sound clips), and some of the songs are available as .mp3 files at MP3.COM.
  • Windbourne, a group composed of Rilla R. Heslin and Karen R. Dobson Rodgers (and sometimes others); noted for their harmonies.

Acquiring Filk: The Companies

  • DAG is one of the oldest continuously operating filk companies. This site contains a lot more than just the catalog of filk to be bought!
  • DragonsGate Music has brought Kathy Mar's tapes "Plus Ça Change" and "Plus C'est La Même Chose" out as a two-CD set.
  • Firebird Music sells Celtic music, folk rock, works of fantasy authors like Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff, Josepha Sherman, C. J. Cherryh and Charles de Lint. Has an on-line catalog.
  • Love Song Productions does not just produce love songs! They do produce albums of the Pegasus Award Winners.
  • Pegasus Publishing has filk, folk music, soundtracks, T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and media-related items (Babylon 5, Star Trek, etc.)
  • Prometheus Music is Eli Goldberg's filk company. Kathy Mar's and Bob Kanefsky's CDs now available; Julia Ecklar's music soon!
  • Random Factors sells filk--CDs, tapes, books and supplies from DAG, Dandelion Digital, Dodeka, Firebird, Thor, Unlikely, Wail Songs, and others. Also Fred Small, Tom Lehrer, Greg Keeler, PDQ Bach and some New Age. Has lists of contents for each tape/CD!
  • Southern Fried Filk, a filk/folk/celtic music company out of Georgia.

Filk Awards

Filk Clubs and Organizations

Filk Miscellany

This site is part of Filker's Bardic Ring
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Last update 30 June 2002

29371 from 27 June 2002