Musician Tom Smith (author of the Talk Like a Pirate Day theme song and Girl Genius’ Transylvania Polygnostic University Fight Song, and a.k.a. filkertom on LiveJournal) is in the hospital after a nasty injury, facing expensive surgery and months of hospital bills…without insurance. And of course he can’t work while he’s in the hospital.

A bunch of other musicians in the filk community have put together a benefit album, “Mr. Smith Goes to the Hospital,” and are providing it as a download for people who donate to help him cover the bills.

What is filk music? There’s no solid consensus, but I think the simplest answer is: music about other media, by its fans. Songs about Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, for instance. Sometimes with original music, often setting new lyrics to other people’s songs (“piggyback filk”). Most filkers just do it as a hobby (I’ve written a few filksongs myself, mostly back in high school and college), but some manage to eke out a living — or supplement one — by performing and selling recordings.

We’ve picked up a couple of his albums since we heard “Five Years” — a Babylon 5 filk to the tune of Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week” — at a Loscon a few years ago (back when we still went to Loscon).

(News found via Girl Genius.)

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