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Fantasy and Science Fiction Author Julia H. West

The Other Filking Julia

(The more well-known filking Julia is Julia Ecklar)

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 write original songs with original music, so filk has "matured" from the days of when filk meant merely 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 30 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!

For the past six years I have been part of the Utah Filk Organization (UFO), headed by Dawnya Thill (who has also been the CONduit Filk Mom for the past five years). We have housefilks, perform in concerts at CONduit and other places, and have traveled to a few filk conventions outside Utah, notably Ohio Valley Filk Festival and Conflikt. Our first CD, "UFO: First Contact," is available on our website.

Filk Friends of CONduit

Filk Groups and Filkers who have appeared at CONduit, Salt Lake City's annual science fiction convention. I was the Filk Mom for CONduit from the beginning for about fifteen years, 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. She also has a new CD/DVD set called "Kathy Mar Live".

Echo's Children. Cat Faber used to live in Salt Lake City, so we still consider her "one of ours" even though now lives in Tennessee. With "Callie" Hills she formed Echo's Children, and the group put out three wonderful CDs ("Under the Gripping Beast" 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 was filk Guest of Honor at CONduit in 2011, and we greatly enjoyed seeing him again.

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."

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 CDs "Rite the First Time" and "Hair of the Frog" are definite must haves for filk lovers.

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.

Actually, most of these songs were written for the Society for Creative Anachronism, back when I was a bard, herald and herbalist called Rhonwen y Llysieuyddes.

One of the science fiction songs, "Mutants," remains a favorite sing-along at our local filksings, and most of the other songs seem pretty popular when performed at a science fiction convention, so that just goes to show the scope of this phenomenon we call "filk."

I've got simple midi files for the tunes of most of the songs. If you want to save a midi file to a disk, just right click on its link and click on "save link as" in the menu that pops up.



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This iteration of the filk page created 17 June 2011

Last updated 17 June 2011