discovered the filk community in 1982. Since then, they have performed both as soloists and as a duet, and also as members of The Black Book Band. Barry, a superb guitarist, was one of the first to bring rock influences into the filk room. Sally expanded everyone’s awareness of the role percussion could play. With her knowledge of ethnomusicology, she often provides contextual and background information for their music in a way that is scholarly, but never stuffy.
Their song-writing wit and musical technique are evident in parodies such as the inimitably silly “Moose and Squirrel”, original funny songs (“Going down the Cosmic Drain”), serious songs of social commentary (“Monorail to Atomland”), and Barry’s exquisite “Lightships” science fiction song cycle. Their tapes “Escape From Mundania!” and “Paradox”, (partially re-released as the CD “Tempus Fugitives”) are still popular in the filk community today, years after they were recorded.
Through their workshops, they have taught useful tips and techniques to aspiring filk musicians. At jams, they encourage non-performers to perform, and even lend instruments if needed. If a sour note is played, they continue to encourage the musicians. Through their tireless efforts as both performers and teachers, they have encouraged fans to come out of the audience, and join them up on the performers’ stage.
Barry and Sally have served on concoms, created items for Interfilk auctions, (Sally has even decked herself out in a leather miniskirt to be an Interfilk wench!), published songbooks, and been dealers. They have taken filk to the mainstream through their involvement in Music For People and through professional performances at children’s museums and other venues.
Barry and Sally embody the spirit of the filk community. They truly think of it as “home”
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Barry and Sally Childs-Helton are inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this twenty-ninth day of March, two thousand and three.
Note: Please read their acceptance speeches on This is My Tribe.
Photo credit: Phillip K Mills 2011