Marc Gunn - Celtic American Music, Celtic Podcaster, and Cat Lover

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Marc Gunn Journal Articles: What is Filk Music?

My Introduction to Filk Music

About three years ago, Andrew and I were performing at a wedding held at the Texas Renaissance Festival for Jack Scratch and wife. And with a bright smile Jack said, "I love that you guys play filk."

"Huh? Filk? What's that?"

"You don't know what filk is? It's the type music you play."

What is Filk?

That was the first time I was introduced to filk music. I still didn't quite understand what it was, but a wee bit o'research online, and I realized, "Yes, we do play Filk music, and I've been singing it for YEARS!"

Filk is music about Science Fiction and Fantasy topics. It's kinda folk music for the Sci Fi world. Filk music includes everything from song praodies with Sci Fi themes to original pieces written with Science Fiction and Fantasy themes.

Course, our specialty has been more with the Fantasy themes than the Science Fiction (though Sci Fi often also includes Fantasy). Since I started playing Dungeons & Dragons in Junior High, I was writing Fantasy pieces and listening to "Wierd Al" Yankovic.

It wasn't until the Brobdingnagian Bards started playing Celtic music that I really started to write music for a specific period. Songs like "The Bridge" and "When She Held Me in Her Arms" were songs I wrote to sound "Celtic" so that I could have original songwriting performed at Renaissance Festivals. But it wasn't until I-CON that I realized that those two were Filk songs.

Following the footsteps of our friends, Emerald Rose, we went to I-CON in New York. There we realized just how much filk music we actually wrote and performed. Even a lot of traditional Celtic music, though not filk music, is enjoyed and adored by the Sci Fi and Fantasy communities.

What are some of our original Filk songs?

Well, I started going through a list and here are a bunch of our original Filk songs that encompass the Fantasy music aspect. Then, I've added links to some other cool filks we play, followed by a few cool Celtic songs that make great filks, though in actuality, they actually are from times long ago.

My Original Filk Music

The Psychopathic, Chronic, Schizophrenic Gollum Blues
Middle Earth Bragging Song
The Bridge
Heart of Fangorn
Happily Ever After
Happy Birthday from Ireland
The Leprechaun (You're No Irish Laddie)
Monster in My Mirror (The Ernie Song)
Now It's Time to Go (Bilbo's Farewell Song)
(Princess Bride) Buttercup's Lament
When She Held Me In Her Arms
Paddy McCollough
O'er The Way
Johnny at the Door
Angel's Lament (Buffy the Vampire Slayer parody)
PBJ Song
If I Had a Million Ducats

Other Filks We Perform

A Fairy Story
A Prudent Thief
Do Virgins Taste Better
Dragon's Retort
Frog Kissin'
The Scotsman
The Unicorn Song
Jedi Drinking Song
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Have Some Madiera M'Dear
Tom Lehrer's Irish Ballad
None But A Harper
Bonnie Jean (from Brigadoon)

Celtic Songs that Feign Great Filk Music aka Celtic Comedy

Bog Down in the Valley
Donald, Where's Your Trousers?
Finnegan's Wake
Johnny Jump Up
Old Dun Cow
Whiskey in the Jar
Wild Rover

More Filk Music Resources

A Bard's Celtic Lyric Directory
Filk FAQ :#1 source of Filk music and song parodies with information and history.
Filk MP3s and Audio Files on the Web
Cantaria : SCA and Celtic folk song lyrics that are popular at Renaissance Festivals. Includes sound bytes.
The Virtual Filksing : The largest collection of recorded "filk" music on the Internet, with hours of performances highlighting both serious and silly songs of science-fiction, fantasy, and technology.
Filk: A New Definition : Revision of, and expansion on, a post which I made to on a subject which has long been debated: the definition of "filk."
The Dandelion Report: What Is Filk? : Article on origins and definition of Filk by Filker of Urban Tapestry.
On Filks And Music In The SCA
Filking, filksongs, filkers : Origins of filking and definitions.
Interfilk Filk conventions around the nation.

Filkers (Filk music performers)

Brobdingnagian Bards Renaissance in Celtic Music : My Celtic music group where I perform most of my filk music, and we perform many of the others listed here.
Geek Hack Filk : Member of the Filk music community, people who gather at sci-fi conventions to sing the folk music of the science fiction fandom community.
Filk Ferret : Filk, Folk, Feeling and whatever *GRIN*
Heather Alexander : Original folk music that just happens to fit beautifully in the Filk music genre.

Next Gigs: (details)

Apr 22-24, AggieCon, College Station, TX

May 13-14, Irish Dragoon Pub - 7:30pm to 11:30pm, Killeen, TX

May 20-22, OPUS Fantasy Arts Festival, Denver , CO

Aug 27, Shakespeare Fundraiser Party - 6:30pm to 10pm, Austin , TX


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