Gytha North – 2001

Gytha North
Photo: Richard the Rampant (Paul Thane-Clarke)


is credited with almost single-handedly leading and inspiring filk in Britain when it began in the early 1980’s. She would start singing in some obscure corner of a con, and gather a few people together to listen, some of whom would also try their hand at singing something. She was essentially the matriarch of filk at British conventions well into the late 80s

She organized and edited the first three UK filk books, and had songs in the first couple of UK hymnals. She has a repertoire of audience-rousing folk, filk and Viking songs, usually delivered in what she jokingly refers to as a bass voice.

She released the first British filk tape (filk, Filk and Filched). She is also responsible for the production of subsequent filk tapes, including those from the Wassail Test and On Filkley Moor songbooks, and the Contabile live tapes, as well as the first series of solo tapes from many British Filkers. Without this initial spark, British filk might have been delayed by many years.

She was the person largely responsible for starting the sequence of UK filk cons. She was on the committee of Follycon in 1988, the convention where British filk first got properly organized. She also played a major part in organising Contabile, the first UK filk con.

If it had not been for Gytha, the British filk community might not exist as we know it today, or possibly at all. There is no doubt that her ability to motivate and (in the nicest way) bully people into filk sowed the seeds of the British filk community. Many talented people joined the nucleus of filk that Gytha started. Without that existing group, they would still be isolated and alone.

She was the instigator of the UK Filk Fund, and was the first person to get filk items scheduled as part of the main programming at Eastercon in 1988.

RIP 2006