Current side project

For those of you who haven’t already seen me posting about this on the social networks, Dara and I have taken over management of the Emerald Forest Filk site and associated mailing list. This is the Pacific-Northwest-specific filk community site and mailing list, previously hosted by our friend JT Traub. JT needed to step down from being admin of the site and list, and since we had the resources to handle it, we took it over from him.
So now we own the Emerald Forest Filk site, which we set up as a WordPress blog, and we’ve recruited a few volunteers who will be periodically posting things of interest to the Pacific Northwest Filk community. Since it’s WordPress, you can subscribe to the RSS of the posts there via your RSS reader of choice.
We’ve also set up a Facebook account and a Twitter account, and anything that goes up on the site will echo out to there, too. So you can follow the site via either of those means as well.
So if you’re interested in filk music, whether in the Pacific Northwest specifically or just in general, come check the site out. And if there are particular things you’d be interested in seeing posted about there, talk to me or Dara!

Wow! New Julia Ecklar album!

Just to demonstrate to you all that every so often I do in fact listen to other forms of music besides “Great Big Sea” and “everybody in Quebecois trad”, I share with you the news that Julia Ecklar is finally releasing a new album! And it’s available for pre-order now!
For those of you unfamiliar with her, Julia’s the lead voice on a lot of the songs on A Wolfrider’s Reflections, the album of Elfquest music that came out in fandom in the late 80’s with the blessing of Wendy and Richard Pini. She was a seriously big name filker back in the day, and I adored her not only for the EQ tape, but also for her affection for Star Trek. She actually played Kirk in a couple of fannish productions of parodies of the second and third Trek flicks–preserved for posterity now by my own belovedest of Daras! Wrath Side Story and Spock Pacific, hee. Oh, Julia was an excellent Kirk.
Her song “Horsetamer’s Daughter” was a classic. And she was frequently beautifully parodied by –Tom’s “Temperature of Revenge” to this day remains one of my very favorite filk songs. And later on, she became the first filker to ever have orchestral accompaniment on an album when she released Divine Intervention, which features a heartbreaking song about Kirk reacting to the destruction of the Enterprise, yet another of her beautiful Trek songs.
Now, the new album has more orchestral work on it and I’m really looking forward to it. I heartily endorse y’all going to pick it up, since it’s gone over budget and Prometheus Music can use all the support it can get! Go support them and an awesome indie musician and filker as well!

Let me sing for you the songs of my people

I’ve mentioned before that something I ardently respond to in both Quebecois and Newfoundland trad music is how many of the bands and singers I’m following have learned their music from their parents, who learned it from their parents, etc. I.e., they grew up with this music, and it was woven into their lives so deeply that it made them who they are. Their love for it shines through brilliantly in their performances.
Devon Léger quite correctly pointed out to me that Americans are not without such traditions–you just need to know where to look for them. Certainly many American Celtic or folk or country performers are fortunate enough to have that same sort of background, too, and classical performers as well. Those of us in the science fiction folk music community, filk, have some small rumblings of this too. Filk hasn’t really quite been around long enough to have songs handed down from one generation to the next, but I have met people who are doing it, and it’s really cool of them. (I am thinking specifically of you, !)
In the bigger picture of American society, though, people getting together and making music just for the joy of making music is not so much of a thing. This is why I’m so very delighted to have discovered both Irish and Quebecois sessions, and it’s why I linger on the edges of filk circles as well; it’s all part of the same idea.
I had a delightful little epiphany last night, too: all that Elvis Presley music my dad played for me on the stereo when I was a kid is absolutely generational handing down of music. And I’ve actually done it too–playing Great Big Sea songs for and ‘s kid Lillian!
So the next time you hear me say “Let me sing for you the song of my people”, I’ll be about to belt out “Hound Dog”. Or “Ordinary Day”. Or maybe now also “Dans le ville de Paris”, or “Re: Your Brains”.
Because no matter where you’re from, Quebec or Newfoundland or Kentucky or any filk circle in any science fiction convention in the world, if you love music, and you get up and you share it with those around you, you are my people. And I will sing your songs.

Good gods, I just wrote a song!

Okay, it’s official, Quebecois trad just muscled its way closer to Great Big Sea in my affections, because it just made me commit an act of filk. I blame the album I just bought by De Temps Antan for this, specifically the track “Jeune et Jolie”. The tune for this isn’t an exact matchup to that song, but the rhythm is totally pulling from that. Muahaha.
I think this is probably either in G or D, 6/8 time, and should be sung with as much vigor as possible. I’m totally hearing it as a drinking song in my head. And now, I give you…
“Quebecois Boys”
Some girls like to rock with electric guitars
Some girls like their operas sublime
Some girls like the rappers, or metal, or country
But none of this music is mine!
Oh the north wind is blowing, and I want to follow
Where it leads me to tales of times past
Where beavers are flying, and coalmen from hell
Rouse my boots to be smiling at last!
And it’s sing to me, Quebecois laddies, oh sing to me
Sing to me, Quebecois boys!
You could spend seven verses on the Montreal phone book
And I’d think you’d still sound quite grand
As long as you’re tapping away on the board
And you’ve got a bouzouki in hand!
So warm up your fiddles, break out your accordions
Play till the morning has dawned
Let’s dance to the reels and sing sweet turluttes
Till the wee hours of evening are gone
Sing to me, Quebecois laddies, oh sing to me
Sing to me, Quebecois boys!
(bridge here)
They say we American girls have no culture
But I say the doubters are wrong
For music transcends all the borders of language
And makes the soul rise up in song
Vertical movement requires no translation
For this Anglophone southern-bred gal
But teach me your lyrics, boys, and see just how fast
I’ll engage dans la danse verticale!
And it’s sing to me, Quebecois laddies, oh sing to me
Sing to me, Quebecois boys!
(no instruments, and layer the English with the French for this a cappella bit)
Sing to me, Quebecois laddies, oh sing to me
(translation, four measures after)
Sing to me, Quebecois laddies, oh sing to me
Sing to me, Quebecois laddies, oh sing to me
(translation, and hold out the final French word for a couple extra measures before returning to the English)
Sing to me, Quebecois boys!
(four beats of stomping, and then this should kick into a reel in the same key, with as much dangerous podorythmie as possible!)

Conflikt was fun

Several of you who read my journal in whatever iteration already know this since you were actually there, but hey, Conflikt! That was fun.

This was the first year that userinfosolarbird and I got to attend the whole convention, which was nice. We still pulled a commuter con, which was not quite so ideal; next year, I think we’ll be getting a hotel room, just because driving all the way back to Kenmore at 2am or later is crazytalk. Especially when things like the Jury panels happen around 10:30 in the morning!

Dara did of course do more active music playing than I did since she has a CD in progress; me, I mostly hung out and beat on one of the novels in progress. And a nice lady I hadn’t met before even told me she quite liked Faerie Blood, to which I double-taked hugely, and was all ‘wait, a complete stranger actually read my novel? Whoa!’ (Nice Lady Who Read My Novel, if you’re reading this, I have forgotten your name and LJ, but if you drop a comment I shall make sure to note it again properly for the future!)

I did periodically also whip out Rags and do impromptu jamming near the registration table, which was also good fun. Special shout-outs on that are due to userinfodoragoon and Jeri Lynn who was managing the registration table, and whose LJ, if she has one, I do not know! We managed to play a not too bad little pass through “Si Bheag Si Mhor”, a song to which I am partial of course from its connection to Mr. Crowe and the Grunts. (Mmm, “Judas Cart”, I should listen to that again.)

Also participated in the Band Scramble, which let me meet a few nice folks and play music with them; we did “Elf Glade”, which is a standard at the Murkjams, and it was an interesting musical exercise to try to follow somebody else’s version of the guitar line. Also fun to try to invent piccolo twiddles on the fly since I never play flute on this thing at home.

The main attraction of the whole shebang was userinfofilkertom, though! Since my original exposure to filk was in the Midwest and my and Dara’s housemate at the time, userinfoamethyst_dancer, was an old college buddy of Tom’s, I’m real familiar with Tom and fond of his music quite a bit. He’s a superb musician, and I was very pleased to see that he hasn’t missed a step in live performance since I saw him last. His voice and guitar playing are both very strong, still! It was with great glee that I plunked down money for three, count ’em, three of his albums at the con–and furthermore picked up two more off of iTunes when I got home. Tom’s just that awesome.

Secondary highlight: seeing Alexander James Adams perform. I really want Alec to start writing more new stuff, just because as a long-standing Heather Alexander fan I have the original versions of a lot of his songs stuck in my brain and they don’t really want to be budged out by newer versions. He’s got a quite nice new vampire song though as well as a new one called “The Dance of Hoof and Horn”, and of course his fiddle playing is still sublime. Extra bonus points for Dara and I getting to sit near him in the big Sunday afternoon Jam, too. And I got to remind him of the incident in 1997 when he looked me in the eye at a room party and said “Play something!” and I squeaked and almost melted into the floor. Now? Now I can actually whip out a guitar and do something with it. He told me he was pleased to have inspired via terror. ;)

(Another shoutout to userinfodoragoon as well for whipping out that fiddle of hers and duo’ing with Alec on “Si Bheag Si Mhor”. Lovely and very well done!)

Alec has a work print of his next new album, so although it’s mostly reworked versions of Heather-era songs, I put down for that too since hey, again, awesomeness. And it may amuse userinfodamara as well that I bought a Heather Dale album–one of the CD vendors in the tiny dealer’s room had a whole bunch of her albums, so I got The Hidden Path and in fact listened to it tonight on the way home from work.

All in all a pleasant and relaxing way to spend the weekend. I may have been “hanging out on the periphery” girl for the most part, but it was a lovely periphery to be at. And “surrounded by musicians” is strangely conducive to getting actual writing done, not to mention guitar playing. <3 Looking forward to next year! And maybe next year, I'll actually have a proper chord line to "How Many Hugos?", one of the few filk songs I've actually written. Not to mention, maybe I'll finish that Doctor Who filk still haunting my brain, and also have that shiny green guitar!

Monday morning, damp and awful

I’m pretty sure that if I arrive at work only marginally less damp than I would have done without an umbrella, I might need to think about getting a new umbrella. My pants are wet from the knees down. Yay!

But at least I have on good warm socks and a cup of tea is steeping at my elbow.

Meanwhile I blew the weekend playing way more of our game Unwell Mel than I probably should have done, but hey, we make good games, what can I say? ;) And userinfosolarbird has been digitizing a lot of my old filk tapes, finally–which means I can at last get this stuff onto my iPhone. We’re focusing on stuff that has not to my knowledge been released on CD, like the Technical Difficulties tapes, the Where No Man… Trek tape, the general-folk Brandywine tape that’s got some good Julia Ecklar and Leslie Fish on it, and best of all, the original Elfquest tape, the one that isn’t remastered to within an inch of its life.

And this does of course mean I’ll have “Banned from Argo” on the iPhone too. <3 This'll be nice to listen to. I've missed a lot of this; when it comes to filk, I'm really more a fan of the older stuff than I am current, although I do of course like me some userinfovixyish and userinfotfabris and userinfos00j and userinfoseanan_mcguire. The Technical Difficulties and Julia Ecklar were really the people who got me interested in filk in the first place!

Site update

I have completed my sweep through my site and basically gotten all parts of it back online, fixing some broken stuff along the way and adding a couple of small new things. Mostly the new stuff is on my Great Big Sea page, to which I have added a new GBS filk and done a small rearranging of the content there. Once things settle down a little further, I may also be able to add some pictures from the 2003 show I attended.

Aside from that, I have also fixed some broken links on my Rellawy character page, updated the reference to AetherMUSH on my MUSHes page to reflect that Aether II has opened up in Aether’s place, and fixed other little minor things as I’ve found them. Anybody sees anything else broken, do please let me know!

Site update

Added ABC notation and staff notation versions of the violin solo in the middle of Heather Alexander’s “Tomorrow We Leave for Battle” to the filk section.