Shoutout to Heather Dale

[image text: Is it maybe worth a shoutout to Heather Dale? She’s starting to post captioned ASL videos of some of her songs to her YouTube, and I just… sort of want to call attention to it somehow.]

Oh cool! I haven’t checked out her YouTube channel recently, so thanks for bringing it up!

So here’s a giant shoutout to Heather Dale, for helping to make filk more inclusive and accessible, and for bringing attention to some wonderful Deaf artists. Here’s her YouTube playlist with all her ASL videos, and it will be updating with more videos weekly.

Do you have a copy of the 1985 Off Centaur Publications cassette, “Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem – Songs By Mercedes Lackey”? I am interested in that cassette due to the fact that Mercedes Lackey’s 1987 CD of the same name from Firebird Arts and Music has completely different people singing the songs, and some of them have new (odd) musical arrangements as well. Just asking!

Brain mod, here: Me and the Dog mod don’t have a copy, unfortunately – we got into filk after cassettes ceased being the popular medium for music, and we don’t have a tape player, so there’s been no reason for us to collect any.

@animatedamerican, what about you? Or anyone who follows us?

Hey so you seem like exactly the person to ask: I was struck with the desire to write a comparative paper about filk/folk treatment of the collapse of society, but I mostly listen to filk through my housemate playing it when I’m in the room, and the only artists I know of who do songs about that are Leslie Fish and Talis Kimberley. Can you recommend me other singers who do songs/other songs on a similar theme to like, Serious Steel and World’s End? Thank you for your time, great blog!

Ooooooh man now this is a good question.  Fish is definitely your best place to start, since she’s the only one I can think of who did a full ALBUM of post-apocalyptic (and pre-apocalyptic) filk, AND THEN SOME.

Me and the brain mod went through and came up with as many as we could think of, besides everything on that album:

As always, everyone can feel free to add!  I’m sure there are dozens more, at least.

hello! if you don't mind, would you know of any non-white filkers? thank you!


Unfortunately not very many, but a few!  Sorry this took me like a week to get back to you; I had to consult with @animatedamerican and…I was avoiding my responsibilities, to be honest (yes, there’s a point at which tumblr messages count as “responsibilities,” somehow).
But I can point you towards Terence Chua, whose niche seems to be songs about Lovecraft to the tune of ABBA, and
Errol Elumir, half of Debs & Errol, Debbie Ohi, the flutist (and sometimes propsmaster) of Urban Tapestry, also a children’s book author, and Ariel “Abbie” Cinii, who I unfortunately can’t find any recordings of, so here’s her blog, but she did win a Pegasus Award and is also a writer.
I know there are more, because I’ve run into a few and not gotten their names, so if anyone knows any more please send suggestions!  Even if it’s just “hello I am not white and into filk but don’t really perform” because that’s still filking and I want people to make friends.

xpost from my mainblog because it’s relevant, and because there’s a much better chance of me tracking down more Filkers of Color over here

Re: Filksong Genealogy: Bashing the Balrog



(Series: Filksong Genealogy)
Firstly, above: Leslie Fish’s setting of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Dane-Geld,” about the dubious wisdom of paying tribute to avoid being conquered by a neighboring country with less portable wealth but better armies.
Secondly, as previously seen on this blog, a classic filksong to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”: Lee Gold’s “You Bash the Balrog,” a cheerful little ditty about an ill-fated set of D&D adventurers.  (If you’ve never heard “Waltzing Matilda,” have a listen here and maybe check out the wikipedia page.)
And finally, below: Bob Kanefsky’s synthesis “Bashing the Balrog,” performed by Leslie Fish.

So the next one is “And the Fans Sang ‘You Bash the Balrog,’” right?
(Dr. Jane Mailander, mashing up “You Bash the Balrog” with Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played ‘Waltzing Matilda.’” Not sure if there’s a recording of it, I just have the lyrics.)

Whoo.  Okay, I’ll be honest, I hesitated to reblog the followup with the full lyrics; I’d forgotten that there are ableist slurs (and what I’m pretty sure is an implied prison rape joke) in the fourth verse. I think last time I heard this sung, the filker either sang something different or skipped that verse entirely.
But there’s no point in denying that like every other music genre and every other fannish community, filk has got some deeply flawed and problematic content, both historical and contemporary.  And like every other community, we’re still working out how to deal with it.
I’m gonna compromise in this case, and link to the lyrics instead of posting them.
Folks, our ask box is open; if you have any suggestions about how to deal with this kind of thing in future, I don’t promise we’ll abide by them, but I think we’d like to hear them.

Re: Filksong Genealogy: Green Hills of Harmony



(Series: Filksong Genealogy)

So there’s this lovely folk song, variously called “Farewell tae th’ Creeks” or “Banks of Sicily,” which like many folk songs has gone through a lot of different permutations.  The above is a rendition by the Chad Mitchell Trio; their lyrics can be found here, while the original lyrics can be found here.

What happens when filkers get hold of something like this?  Welllll … a lot of things.

Here’s “Green Hills of Harmony” (lyrics) by Al Frank, performed here by (I think) Dandelion Wine.  It’s about the Dorsai, a fictional mercenary society from a science fiction book series by Gordon R. Dickson.

And here’s Frank Hayes’s parody of “Green Hills,” entitled “Don’t Ask” (lyrics).  It’s … also about the Dorsai.  Sort of.

And here is what may be the most recent riff on the same tune:  Erin & Rand Bellavia’s Pegasus-nominated filksong “Cliffs of Insanity.”

There’s much more to the story!

(You’re right about Dandelion Wine–that’s the recording from their album “The Face on Mars.”)

See, one major reason the Dorsai are still heard of, despite the Childe Cycle books not exactly being bestsellers anymore (Dickson died in 2001 and hadn’t published a new such book in almost a decade even then), is this:

In 1973, at TorCon 2, the 31st World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, the only security there were local rent-a-cops, who among other things didn’t get along with the fans and didn’t really work out well–notably someone walked off with a Kelly Freas original (Kelly being one of the most well known artists in fandom) by showing the art show rent-a-cop a receipt for a much cheaper piece. The guard didn’t know any better than to say “no way you paid that for this piece.”

So, the legendary Robert Asprin, SF writer, cosplayer, SCAdian, filker, and fan extraordinaire, decided Something Must Be Done. Thus, he set up a fannish group to help work conventions: Door guards, hall monitoring (for drunk fans needing help back to their rooms as well as extraction from uncomfortable come-ons), auctioneering, even operations help. He got permission from Dickson to call the group the Dorsai Irregulars, the idea being that these were the “weirdos” of the otherwise traditionally military mercenary Dorsai.

And Bob himself being one of the major filkers of his age (arguably, he brought filk out of the back rooms and into function space at conventions; he definitely assigned the filk community its signature whiskey), he got some of his filker friends to help. To this day the roster of the DI is chock-a-block with some of the leading lights and senior songsters of the filk community, including Bob and Anne Passovoy, Murray Porath, Michael “Moonwulf” Longcor, Mark Bernstein, Bill and Gretchen Roper, Bill and Brenda Sutton, Steve MacDonald, John Hall, and more I’m not going to list one by one.

See John Hall’s “Filk Music and the Dorsai Irregulars” for more.

(And yes, Frank’s “Don’t Ask” is more about the Irregulars than the Regulars.)

Shai Dorsai!

(“I’ve never met a shy Dorsai!”)

Reblogging for the Rest Of The Story.  😀

Thank you for making this! We (the two of us who 'run' this blog) grew up filking and honestly finding others who love it makes us so happy! Thank you!

I’m VERY glad, and because you have said this I am now going to get off my ass and queue some more things.
(honestly people saying nice things 100% keeps this blog running, since filk is such a small community I can’t rely on notes to see if people care, they gotta tell me – and EVERY time I am SO happy, it is so NICE gosh I love people)

So I’m kinda new to the filk community…I’ve been listening to Seanan McGuire’s works for a year and a half now, and I just started listening to Vixy and Tony. I’ve heard some Talis Kimberly and Heather Dale, but that’s about it. Do you have any recommendations for other filk artists, similar to Seanan McGuire and Vixy and Tony? And do you know where I would go to find more filk music? Thank you!!!

I am SO sorry I left this message sitting here for…over a month because I am lazy and bad at blogging.  Honestly the reason I let this whole blog go fallow for months at a time is I sometimes have trouble answering the question of where to find new filk myself D:

…but I do at least have some advice.  One of the most popular online platforms for filk is Bandcamp, though unfortunately the “filk” tag there seems to be split between actual filk and people using the word either as a nonsense sound or as not English.  Poke around in the filk tag, or the “geek” and “nerd” tags for a while and you’ll at least find something.  There’s some on Soundcloud, too, but the organization is, if anything, worse.

There’s a bunch on YouTube as well – mostly older releases (lots of Leslie Fish) and live recordings from cons, which are always worth looking at, even if the sound quality is usually lousy.
A handful of filkers have personal websites, but usually the only way to find out about those is for someone to tell you, unfortunately.

And the best way to find people who can tell you is to go somewhere where the filk is LIVE!  I highly recommend any filk convention, but unless you get lucky that’ll involve a bit of travelling – there’s a list of them here.  There are also plenty of cons-at-which-filk-happens.  Stay away from newer cons, and anything specializing in comics or anime.  You want the (usually small) sci-fi and fantasy conventions that have been around since at least the 80′s (or Dragoncon, which has everything).  Check out the official musical guests (most cons, old and new, have music of some kind) – and see if you can find any info about after-hours room parties.  That’s when the good shit happens.

There are a decent number of people who host regular filk circles in their homes, but again, they can be infuriatingly well-hidden.  I know there are regular events in southern California and Minnesota, so they’ve got to happen other places.  If you find one, don’t worry about not knowing anyone there; they’re all a bunch of old nerds who will be delighted and a little baffled to see new people.

Good places to keep an eye on for filk news and new music are the Facebook pages “Filker” and “F is for Filker”.  They’re closed groups just to cut down on spam, but just send the admins a message saying you’re interested in getting involved with the community and they’ll be happy to let you in.  If you make a post in either of those asking “are there any filk things happening soon near [x-place]” I’m sure you’ll get something!


Based on your interests, I think you should definitely start by checking out old Heather Alexander recordings, especially of Mercedes Lackey songs – start with the “Magic, Moondust, and Melancholy” album; it’s all on YouTube.

SJ Tucker is probably also up your alley, as might be Cheshire Moon and Leslie Hudson

Beth Kinderman is one of my personal favorites who I don’t think is nearly well-known enough

That should keep you busy for a while, but I invite anyone to add more recommendations and/or advice!!  Because honestly I need it too.