Girl into Devil (I Belong to Me) – S. J. Tucker

“Who do you belong to, little girl?
Why do you wander in the deep, dark wood?”
It’s not an easy answer, I’m afraid.
She fits your little story, but she’s up to no good. 

“Girl into Devil” by S. J. Tucker, a song inspired by Catherynne M. Valente’s Deathless and the Russian folktales the book was based on.

Lyrics available here.

One Salt Sea – Cat Faber

Two the ocean races that of one blood remain;
A single skin encases the slayers and the slain,
But blood will blood deliver, though later comes the fee,
As every rushing river runs to one salt sea.

“One Salt Sea” by Cat Faber, inspired by the book of the same title in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. If you’re not familiar with the series the lyrics will sound kinda cryptic, but they’re cool enough that it’s still worth a listen.

Lyrics are available on Bandcamp.

Wonders – S. J. Tucker

It’s the wonders that I’m after,
even if I have to bleed,
and make very rash decisions
for the sake of what I need.
Dancing kisses on my cheek,
it’s the wonders that I seek,
and I swear I am not afraid. 

“Wonders” by S. J. Tucker, which she dedicates to “all of us who dare to go on quests that we can’t see the end of.”

Lyrics available on Bandcamp.

The Griesly Bride – McKain Lakey

Today in found filk: “The Griesly Bride,” a murder ballad adapted by Tom Campbell from a poem written by John Manifold.

Despite being written in the mid-20th century, it sounds like a traditional ballad, and has a very filkish supernatural twist. It’s actually so filkish that when I was first trying to track down the origin of the song, I found some folks who were convinced it had been written by filker Cynthia McQuillan.

Lyrics are available here.

Quick content warning for an implied threat of sexual coercion, though it’s never followed through, and the woman who’s threatened is not the one murdered in this ballad.

Song of Fey Cross – Three Weird Sisters

Outside of our town, at the edge of the forest
Two roads come together, they call it Fey Cross
And there at the crossroads, away from the roadside
There’s an odd mound of granite all covered with moss

Oh, soft is the pillow, all green and inviting
Sweet is the sound of a new faery tune
But beware of the voices that call you to sleep there
That call you to dream ‘neath the light of the moon.

“Song of Fey Cross,” a warning song written by Gwen Knighton and performed by Three Weird Sisters (Gwen Knighton, Brenda Sutton, and Teresa Powell).

Lyrics available on their website.

Eleven Feathered Sons – Leslie Hudson

Brothers, I am coming
Will you call me on?
What are you becoming every dawn?
Mother, you have cursed them
Eleven feathered sons
Beneath the shadow of their wingspans
I will run 

“Eleven Feathered Sons” by Leslie Hudson, based on the fairy tale The Wild Swans. Lyrics available on Bandcamp.

For another neat (and tonally very different!) interpretation of a closely related folktale, check out Queen of Spindles by Talis Kimberley.

Tam Lin – Tricky Pixie

Tonight’s the night of Halloween,
and the fairy court will ride;
And she that would her true love win
at Miles Cross must bide.

Happy Halloween (or Hallowe’en, depending on your spelling preference)!

In celebration, have some filkers performing everyone’s favorite traditional ballad about getting knocked up by a weird guy in the woods and having to go rescue him on Halloween before the Faerie can sacrifice him to the Devil 🙂

This version of Tam Lin is performed by Tricky Pixie, aka S.J. Tucker, Alexander James Adams, and Betsy Tinney. Lyrics are available on bandcamp.

From Out the Barrow – Alexander James Adams

Won’t you come with me where the water runs deep?
Where the fire heart burns and the land is asleep?
Leave your tears and pain, let your heart be unbound!
Merely melt as spring rain-
With me into the ground!

“From Out the Barrow” by Alexander James Adams, a terrifying ultimatum from something old and powerful that lives deep beneath the earth.

Lyrics available on Bandcamp.

Banshee – Cheshire Moon

The only thing certain in each life is death
As sure as each heartbeat and every last breath
The cry of the Banshee each soul must heed
But who in this world calls for me?
Yes, who in this world calls for me?

“Banshee” by Cheshire Moon. I didn’t realize until I listened to this how much I needed Love Songs About Death Omens in my life.

Lyrics and chords available here.

My Story Is Not Done – Seanan McGuire & Dead Sexy

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.

Lyrics are available on Seanan McGuire’s website.

Filksong Genealogy: Sealskin

filkyeahfilk:

I never thought that I could hold you forever
Always knew deep down you’d have to go home
I can be grateful for these bright years together
And I know you miss the salt sea foam
If you hurry, you can still catch the tide, my love
If you hurry you can still catch the tide.

“Still Catch the Tide” by Talis Kimberley, performed here by Seanan McGuire with Michelle “Vixy” Dockrey, Tony Fabris, S.J. Tucker, and Amy McNally.  Lyrics are available here.

This is one of my favorite songs to sing along to when I want to be Sad About The Sea (a specific emotion that I experience with alarming regularity.)

If you want a selkie song with a happy ending, check out “The Maiden and the Selkie” by Heather Dale or “Glass Half Full of the Sea” by Benjamin Newman.

She puts on sealskin with a steady hand
Beast at sea, woman on land
She puts on sealskin, the color of foam
She knows what’s next: going home

“Sealskin” by Batya Wittenberg, performed here with the able assistance of Gary Ehrlich (guitar) and Joshua Kronengold (vocals), is the story of “Still Catch the Tide” rearranged to the tune of another Talis Kimberley song about a shapeshifting woman with a human lover: “Velvet” (lyrics and audio here).

… and it owes its existence in no small part to Bob Kanefsky’s “Velvet Tide” (lyrics here), which is a comedic song that takes the story of “Velvet” and rearranges it to the tune of “Still Catch the Tide.”

(Series: Filksong Genealogy)

 

Carving Knife – Leslie Hudson

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.

Lyrics available on Bandcamp.