have both been wowing filkers with their music and supporting the community of filking since the 1980’s. Together, they play a stunning array of instruments with a repertoire in filk and folk that is guaranteed to be an education for listeners. Moreover, their efforts on behalf of filk in general are the epitome of generosity and involvement.
Bill is a founding member of Interfilk. He is still Vice President, and a strongly committed director. Brenda became the first active “Interfilk spouse,” with ideas Interfilk found worthy of implementation.
Bill’s musical contributions include performances of his own material and that of others, a host of songs both original and parody, and tapes made both solo and with Brenda. Bill’s music ranges from space dogs to space alcohol to the apocalyptic, all equally powerful. He has done it all – written songs and sung them, recorded them, and burned them into our minds and hearts. He has made us laugh and cry, and want to go out and try to write or sing as well as he does.
Brenda’s music can combine the funny and wistful, overwhelm one with a powerful vision, interpret classic literature, or inspire with an anthem. She has released a solo tape, Strangers No More. She has the engaging ability to make everyone in a room feel accepted and loved. She has an exceptionally fine hand on the bodhran, and is always willing to share this expertise in workshops and individually.
Bill has organized filk at Worldcons, with Brenda acting as a font of useful ideas, suggestions, contacts, and feedback. They were among the founders of GaFilk, and continue to serve on the committee.
Bill and Brenda actively keep filk alive, and promote the inclusive nature of the filk community, encouraging new performers and songwriters, giving advice and feedback, and introducing them to the ways of the community.
They have built bridges across the Atlantic and been instrumental in bringing American filk music to the UK and bringing British filk music to North America. Their easy relationships and comfort with many different kinds of people from all walks of life is an inspiration. They support local filks and often seem more interested in hearing what other people are doing than in showing off what they’ve been doing. They are exemplary guests at filk conventions, actively promoting and assisting the convention. You can’t ask for a better advisors on music, lyrics, presentation, arrangement, and any number of other things. They make people feel good just by being around. And you’ve never been “madeira’d” until you’ve been “madeira’d” by Bill and Brenda.
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Bill and Brenda Sutton are inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this thirty-first day of March, 2001.
Photo credit: Howard Scrimgeour