Salomé’s waiting tables, platter in hand
While Deborah smokes the courthouse from her mind
Naomi keeps her daughter close ‘little longer than planned
And Leah’s still a lover to the blind
We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, by our own design
“Sisters & Sinners” by Leslie Hudson, a song for the oft-overlooked and misunderstood ladies of Christian and Jewish lore. Leslie says in the song description that the idea came to her one day when she “mused what it might be like to stumble across a pub in limbo frequented by ladies of Biblical traditions.”
It’s not done until it’s told,
It’s not told until it’s written,
If I’m brave and if I’m bold,
I can challenge what’s forbidden,
For nobody gets to tell me
That I’ll never be the one.
When they ask you what befell me,
Say my story is not done.
“My Story is not Done” by Seanan McGuire, 2015 Pegasus Award winner for Best Filk Song. It’s performed here by Seanan, Amy McNally, Brenda Sutton, Bill Sutton, Teresa Powell, Dr. Mary Crowell and Judi Miller.
I am bitter (I am bitter)
I am bitterness as cold as ice
I am jealous (I am jealous)
I am jealousy as old as night
I want better
I want better than your charming life
I am other (I am other)
I am otherwise a carving knife
“Carving Knife” by Leslie Hudson, a song for all the villainesses of fairy tales. In the song description, Leslie explains,
Villains are often simply opportunistic. They seize potential in a moment in time and change their fortunes just as their counterparts do, but we’re not meant to root for them. Their function is primarily foil or challenger or catalyst. We don’t delve into their stories or take their circumstances into account.
But that stepmother is a widow with two young girls to care for who’ve lost their father, their station and their future. That succubus will starve if she doesn’t feed on the energy of another. That woman’s love went unrequited though she gave her whole heart, her womb proved unfruitful but she wanted children, her looks never improved with age, she had no magic doll guiding her choices, no wealthy benefactor, she led no charmed life.
Welcome to The Redhead League
We’re loosely a collective of
The best and brightest redheads far and wide
Personal objective and collaborative fire
Are the values we espouse, come on inside
“Secrets Liars & Spies” by Leslie Hudson, from her concept album “The Redhead League.” Leslie explains in the album description:
The Redhead League is a concept album based on 9 female redheaded comic book characters: Red Sonja, Medusa, Teela, Jean Grey, Mary Jane Watson, Scarlett, Poison Ivy, April O’Neil & Black Widow.
They’re not superheroes or supervillains. They’re passionate, powerful and occasionally poisonous so don’t piss them off. They’ve got swords and guns and prehensile hair, telekinesis and martial arts expertise, lipstick lips and latex, and they don’t mind getting their hands dirty.
You can keep my hair
I don’t need it to feel pretty
You can keep my tower
I don’t need it to be strong
I’m racing out to find the place where the sun and the moon
Have coffee when you can’t see either one at all
“Disenchanted” by Cheshire Moon, a song for all the unwilling Rapunzels out there. Lyrics and chords available here.
The splendid Scottish folksinger Karine Polwart tweeted one day about witnessing a girl being told not to climb a tree because she was in a very nice skirt. Or maybe just in a nice skirt, it was some time ago, and either way, this little song fell happily out and has been sung a handful of times since.
There is a particularly British distinction, I think, betweem a skirt, a nice skirt, and a very nice skirt. And you can climb trees in any of them, so there.
“Polly,” by Talis Kimberley, a very modern song in a charmingly traditional style.
@seananmcguire‘s Wicked Girls is a favorite of mine, and though it’s not explicitly about the lgbt community, for a while I’ve been thinking about it as such. But hey, filk is all about adaptation and the meanings the audience gets from a song – so a few days ago I decided to write my own version.
My Wicked Girls is dedicated to all of the fictional wlw who deserved better than their narratives gave them, and to all the real wlw who deserve the world.
Lady MacBeth said to Helen of Troy
When they finished the wine they’d been drinking
“I’m all for regicide once in a while, but
Helen, dear, what were you thinking?”
“Archetype Cafe,” by Talis Kimberley, for all the reviled and diminished women of history and myth, with Tim Walker on drums and Simon Fairbourn on bassoon (and holy hell he is good). Lyrics available here.
Like a princess in a castle
Like a queen without a king
Like a present wrapped in ribbons
Or a bird with broken wings
She is waiting to be rescued
She is waiting to be free
If someone could only tell her
Just who she’s supposed to be