What is Filk?
Filk music is a phenomena that can be traced back to the 1950s. It is strongly tied to the advent of Science Fiction and Fantasy genres in books, film and TV. Filk is basically folk songs about or related to the worlds created in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
There is a great detailed description at fanlore.org here.
Here is a song by a well-known filk-singer, Kathy Mar:
Filk in Australia
The few Australian websites that I could find included many dead (404 Not Found) links. There does seem to be a Filk tradition tied to some SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) sites.
Robbie Matthews has a page here.
I met Ann Poore (a harp player and filk singer) at the Turning Wave Irish festival in Yass last year, here is her soundcloud page.
A Filksing occurs when filk singers and fans get together to share the songs they have written. These events usually occur in relation to another fan event, like ComicCon or as a standalone filk gathering like Conflikt or the North East Filk Convention. Sometimes these take the form of a stage and an audience, other times they are held in a circle with everyone taking a turn to sing.
Filk is notable for its (very) wide range of skill levels and quality of material, but a general environment of acceptance and encouragement regardless.
Filk and Me
I have collected my own filk songs into an album called ‘Is This the Filk Life’, available here.
While most of what I write and sing would be classed as traditional, I was introduced to filk in 2017 when I made a comment about Star Trek on Facebook and was pointed to Leslie Fish‘s song Banned from Argo.
Here are some of my own attempts at Filk Songs.
If you are in Australia and interested in getting involved in filk or planning/attending a conference, let me know in the comments.
Free Software Song
There is a bit of an overlap between the Filk community and the GNU/Linux community. I wrote a filk song about the history of GNU/Linux here:
And made a recording of the Free Software Song written by Richard Stallman.
This recording is released under the Creative Commons – Share Alike License – Attribution License Version 4.0.
You can download the Ogg/Vorbis video file here and use/share it in line with the license above.
(you can also watch on the non-free YouTube platform here).