What the heck is Filk Music?
If you’ve been to a convention (though, of course, not recently – Thanks, COVID) you may have seen something on a schedule about Filk Music, or Filk Singing. If you haven’t had a chance to pop into that scheduled event, or even not enough of interest that may take away from your must-see convention events, boy, do I have a new world to open up to you!
Simply put, Filk Music is the Music of Fandom. Parodies, originals, humorous, serious, Star Trek, Star Wars – all flavors and fandoms make up what is Filk Music. Geeky music, nerdcore, Wizard Rock, etc. are all fandom-specific subgenres of Filk music.
So Where Does Filk Come From?
Filk music (or Filk Singing, or just plain Filk) programming at conventions has come a long way since I was a wee baby (my first convention was in the *ahem* the late 1970s). When I was little, if there was actual filk programming, it was ‘here’s a room after hours, have fun’ and that’s about it. You’d get anyone and everyone in that room, and there would be a big circle until the small hours, singing and telling stories. For a deeper dive into the history of Filk and Filk Singing, I will always recommend Lee Gold’s An Egocentric and Convoluted History of Early “Filk” and Filking.
Now, most conventions have dedicated programming, concerts, panels, workshops, and still Open Filking where everyone is invited to come and share a song until the small hours. We’ve grown from guitars and vocals to full kit bands, and performances ranging from traditional Celtic vibes to Hip-Hop. The one thing I’ve noticed over these years is that sometimes “Filk” itself gets lost in the subgenres, but it’s all filk in the end.
I’m currently the Track Director for Filk Music at Dragon Con, and one thing that we’ve worked hard on our track is being inclusive to anyone who has a song in their heart that they’d like to share about something that brings them joy. Here on ESO Network, I’m hoping to bring all of y’all information on music that may be new to you, and performers that can of course use a little bit of love in this time of social distancing and canceled shows.