Years and years ago, when I went to my first con, there was something weird on the schedule - "filk." I didn't get to attend that filk session, but when I did get a chance to go to one I learned that it's a genre of music particular to fandom. I was intrigued by what I heard, but didn't get a chance to learn much more about it until more recently - thanks to the internet. Some of it is beautiful, more of it is funny, and its appeal is largely based on being a sort of big in-joke among people who are into science fiction and fantasy. I'm afraid Sam and I are guilty of leading minors into committing filk - after we explained filk to our kids this past year, they came up with many Pokémon filk songs.
I finally got to go to one of the monthly housefilks, this one hosted by Rob & Kim at the lovely Norcross Filk Palace. Marvelous fun, good music, great company - what's not to like? So I'm definitely hoping to attend more of these, and am far more motivated now to try to get to GaFilk this year. I'd met some of the local filkers when I attended a lovely song circle at Gwen's house last year, and Michael Liebmann of Southern Fried Filk was kind enough to spend some time making music with us at KidCon 2000. We finally hosted a filk here in July 2000 and plan to do so again in 2001.
Of course, since I'm a rather opinionated person, I've already developed some strong opinions about what I do and don't like in filk despite my admittedly limited experience with it. I decided the SF&F section of my web site just wouldn't be completely without including info on related music.
The Virtual Filksing is a great way to find a variety of filk song MP3s in one place. I'm particularly fond of Tech Support by Jeffrey Hitchin - every techie I know likes that one.
I've heard that Weird Al Yankovic hates to be called a filker, for some reason - but I think everyone has heard at least one of his songs at some point in time, so I wanted to point out that his songs are pretty good examples of filk.
Mercedes Lackey has done many songs related to her Valdemar universe, as well as some unrelated filk. Apparently, when she writes the lyrics and Leslie Fish does the music for a song, it's called a Leslac - which is also the name of a troublesome bard in Lackey's Tarma and Kethry stories - the speaker, it seems, in Leslac's Last Lament (performed here by Frank Hayes). Feline American Princess is a Leslac, too, and it's very funny - I just can't figure out how Lackey channeled our cat Shelley when she wrote it.
I first ran across Cynthia McQuillin's fiction in the Sword and Sorceress anthologies and MZB's Fantasy magazine. I didn't know untli recently that she and her partner Dr. Jane Robinson are accomplished filkers. It seems McQuillin is one of those incredibly multi-talented people - she makes jewelry too!
I figure I would have liked "Rubenesque" for its lyrics no matter what I thought of the Duras Sisters - but I like them. "Ivanova's Lament" was one of the first filk songs I encountered via Napster, and prompted me to look for more Duras Sisters songs and to find their web site.