(In case you missed them: Dragon*Con Pictures, Part 1: My Friends.)
This year I’ve discovered that I really enjoy filk (genre-related folk music) and filking (playing and singing same). Part of that is the warm reception “The Monster Hunter Ballad” has received over the last few months, and part of it is an immense sense of joy at doing something I never thought I could: writing and performing original music.
How did I get into this filking thing? It was an overly long journey:
- Way back in the mid-90s I penned Titan-rocket-program-related lyrics to a number of different Beatles tunes.* So far as I know they’ve all been lost, and probably just as well. But I didn’t play an instrument, so I never considered the possibility of writing an original Titan tune.
- In 2000 I got stationed overseas, where during my off hours I wrote a novel** and learned a few chords on the guitar. For my farewell dinner at Thule Air Base I wrote “Home on the Tundra” (to the tune of “Home on the Range”). As proof, you can look at the last page of the September 2001 issue of the Thule Times.
- In 2008 I wrote the first of what has become an annual series of songs for the Industrial Extension Service: “The I-E-S Song.” It hasn’t made it onto YouTube yet, but there’s still hope … though you can watch the video montage for the 2009 song, “The Economic Recovery Blues.”
- At MarsCon this January I got the idea for a Dungeons-&-Dragons-based song, which eventually became “Saving Throws” (sung to the tune of “Edelweiss”). And somewhere along the line I got the idea for the Monster Hunter song, which I debuted at StellarCon in March.
- And at ConCarolinas this June I actually took part in a “Filk Circle” for the first time, and had a great time — which naturally led me to look up the filk track at Dragon*Con.
I played a few songs on Friday night, and went back on Saturday night to listen even though I had a headache. Then I was back again to play on Sunday night — where I took pictures!
First, the director of the Filk Track, Robby Hilliard:
(Dragon*Con Filk Track head honcho, Robby Hilliard.)
That guitar he’s playing looks awfully familiar. (I actually loaned my guitar out a couple of times.) Robby did a great job organizing the track, and his whole staff was very friendly.
Here’s Alex Boyd, who on Sunday night set himself the challenge of playing only original filk that he had made up that day.
One of the songs he did was, “Don’t Bring Your Guitar to Dragon*Con.” Given the difficulty of maneuvering through the crowds, he had a point. I bought one of his CDs.
And here’s Tally Deushane, singing “The Dragon*Con Song”:
Tally got very tired of singing “The Dragon*Con Song” by Sunday night; she probably sang it a dozen times over the course of the weekend. After Dragon*Con she posted on her Facebook fan page that she had been named one of Glamour Magazine’s “Top 10 College Women of 2011.” If I’d known we had a celebrity in our midst, I would’ve asked her to autograph her CD when I bought it.
Finally, guitars and ukuleles were not the only instruments to be found in the filk circle:
(The anonymous accordion player who wowed us all on Sunday night.)
In summary, a splendid time was had by all.
And meanwhile I keep coming up with new song ideas, which is both a little scary and (to me, at least) a little cool.
*I included some of this history in a previous blog post.
**It was okay, not great. I think my second novel is better, though neither one has been published.