Echo's Children Filk

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Echo's Children

Echo's Children (Callie Hills and Cat Faber) is an acoustic duo that performs mostly at science fiction conventions. We write, arrange, and perform original songs about subjects that range from science fiction through science and technology to out-and-out fantasy.

Our first gig was to entertain a dozen princesses; we naturally joined forces in the face of so much royalty, and decamped from the area, winding up serenading some bemused peddlers instead. We have since traveled over much of the country, changing costumes and instruments frequently to throw off pursuit, while writing, arranging and performing songs about subjects ranging from fairies and gypsies to computers and spaceships. Many of these performances, until now only seen in the wild, have been captured on digital media, and are displayed in lifelike settings and attitudes on Under the Gripping Beast, our first CD (released at OVFF in 1997), As Good As Any, released at BaltiCon in 1999, and A Dancing World, released at LepreCon in 2001.

Many of our song lyrics, and audio samples from our CDs, are available via our website, . Please stop by and visit sometime!


Since moving to Oregon in 1985, Arlene 'Callie' Hills has performed in a variety of amateur and semi-professional ensembles. In addition to performing regularly with Cat Faber as "Echo's Children", she has founded two Renaissance consorts (one of which, Belles-Anges, she is still active in) and two madrigal groups. Callie's formal musical education includes two years each of piano and flute lessons, two years study in music theory, history and performance at the University of Oregon School of Music, and two years of voice lessons, still ongoing. She is self-taught on recorders, pennywhistles, and guitar (in descending order of skill...). When not rehearsing or performing, she pursues a myriad of interests including Renaissance costuming, both as costume designer and creator for Echo's Children and Belles-Anges, and as one of her areas of study in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).


Cat Faber began writing filk before she knew what it was. She claims her first filk was written at the age of six or seven, but steadfastly refuses to say what it was or what it was about. When she took up the guitar at the age of 15, she suddenly had a way to write melodies down, and a simple way to stay in key while composing. Her main forum was the Society for Creative Anachronism, in which she gained the beginnings of her performing experience. She attended her first con (an Orycon, she thinks) at about this time, but owing to the expense did not become a regular con-goer for many years more. She has performed in several choirs and madrigal groups in various states, and founded and helped run one in Amarillo Texas, where she also got her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. She joined up with Arlene "Callie" Hills in 1996, when they discovered their vocal ranges, musical instruments, and lyrical and compositional talents to be complementary. Their first engagement really was to play for a dozen (or so) Princesses. Ask them about it sometime.

Fair Was The Blossom

Lyrics and melody ©2000 by Catherine Faber and Arlene "Callie" Hills
Arrangement © 2000 by Bob Esty and Catherine Faber

Fair was the blossom, and faithful and true

But fairer the tree from which it grew

For Manticore's flower our grief is displayed

For Honor has fallen to Haven's red blade.


For Manticore's navy and Grayson's she flew;

Fearless her ship and devoted her crew.

Through terrible odds her commitment was keen

To keep to her word and to honor her Queen.


I will remember till memory dies

Grayson's deep anger ablaze in her eyes

As she challenged Burdette in the whole council's sight

"Send for your sword and may God aid the right."


I'm drawn to a standard I cannot attain

My beacon a Lady, a Knight without stain,

You cannot in honor, deny me this grace

The chance to avenge what I cannot replace.


I mourn for her loss but I know very well

The tree is no less for the flower that fell.

Someday I hope they'll remember of me,

Fair was the blossom, but fairer the tree.

No Quarter

Lyrics and melody © 1999 by Catherine Faber
Arrangement © 1999 by Arlene "Callie" Hills

Grayson's lost its champion; to God she has returned,

To stand before the Tester, in the state her rank has earned.

Our Lady needs an honor guard, an escort, and a crew,

And if you're the best available, I guess you'll have to do.

No Quarter, NO QUARTER! You damn well earned your fate.

Give Harrington our compliments; we're sorry you are late.

We know what Honor's ending was, by all the tapes we viewed.

And now we reach the battle; we are in no gentle mood.

Hear that thunder rolling till it seems to split the sky?

That's every ship in Grayson's Navy taking up the cry-


Ancient legends say the rank a fallen warrior held

Depended on an Honor Guard of foes that one had felled.

And so in tardy tribute to the one we couldn't save,

We'll lay your fiery deaths like crimson flowers on her grave.

The Steadholder's recruiting, so pray don't surrender, sir.

Dame Harrington surrendered—once—and look what that got her!

We owe a debt of honor we have finally come to pay

And as we look you in the eye, we find one thing to say—


Put your arms in order, shine your boots and get them laced

You just might make the muster, but you don't have time to waste.

For if you pass inspection and she deems you fit to serve,

You might yet meet an honor that you bastards don't deserve.

Riding A Tiger

Lyrics and melody © 2000 by Catherine Faber
Arrangement © 2000 by Arlene "Callie" Hills

The People's Republic of Haven, is it all that you hoped to attain?

The glories that shone in your daydreams, are they dimmed by the blood of the slain?

While yesterday's shining successes get harder and harder to top.

Rob, you are riding a tiger. How are you going to stop?


The Proles only follow a leader who will keep them well feted and fed,
With trial and war for your circus, you'd better not run out of bread!

The curs that have fawned at your fingers will tear out your throat if you drop.

Rob, you are riding a tiger. How are you going to stop?


The fields you have sown with betrayal, and watered with innocent's tears

That falsehood has fenced and defended, by the ruin of lives and careers

Are choked with the fruits of your labors. How will you harvest your crop?

Rob, you are riding a tiger. How are you going to stop?


For the sake of our dying Republic, and an end to an honorless war,

For the sake of my childhood friend Robbin, though I fear he will greet me no more,

In the chill of the guillotine's shadow, as the heavy blade's drawn to the top,

I say "Rob, you are riding a tiger. How are you going to stop?"