I received a Facebook message from Sib asking me to meet her and Steve on Zoom. We actually met on Zoom, but I persuaded her beforehand to tell me what it was all about: I was to be “Guest of honor” at DFDF 2024. Guest of honor. Me. I’m gobsmacked.
I was once at a Filk-Con, yes. What feels like 1000 years ago. Accompanied by Sunny and my sister, I played my first spot and was completely blown away by the people, the impressions, the music and the openness I was allowed to encounter.
The following year, I was there with friends and was able to immerse myself even deeper, be even closer. I remember the request concert, where I was allowed to sing a song and you all sang with me. It was a very personal and special song for me and the moment when you joined in is forever in my heart.
I never went to Filk-Con again after that. Too far away. Not enough time and often not enough money, but I never lost sight and sound of some filkers, thanks to the WWW.
I was pleased that some of them remembered me and that I was asked from time to time whether I would like to be there again. That was me as part of Sib’s “Stay-on-the-couch-con” and I can tell you: there were hardly any bigger highlights for me during the pandemic. I was and am simply grateful to be able to experience the liveliness and closeness of these events in a very difficult time.
And now I’ve been invited to make music with you again and I’m humbled (don’t know the German word for it…) and looking forward to it. But most of all I’m excited. Am I interesting enough? Does anyone else even know me? I’m more or less “all alone”, with just my guitar, which I have a mediocre command of. I can’t add acrobatic highlights, blow on a comb or make balloon animals!
But what I can do is invite you to come and visit me in “my world”. Everything I can show you is me – even if I sometimes slip into other roles.
I look forward to taking you with me into my life and into stories that have shaped me. You are filkers! You know yourself that bards can be ANYTHING, so be surprised who I will be for you!
I was asked to write a text about myself. I can’t do that very well, so I have a few artistic and biographical key data for you and quotes from dear people who have known me for a long time and responded to my Facebook call to write a few lines about me as a person and musician.
Name: Sylvia Johanna Sollfrank
Profession: Social pedagogue
Family: My husband Michi, our cat Tiffy and my Femmi with mom and two sisters
Fandoms: Elfquest, Harry Potter, Buffy, …I LOVE the internet because it makes it so much easier to find “the others” who are sailing “under the same flag”. It was a bit lonely as an Elfquest nerd in the Franconian backwater (even if it did lead to dear contacts that still exist today)
Musical roots: I wrote a really excellent part-musical about Jorge Amado’s “Lords of the Beach” when I was 12. I don’t think the world was ready for it, nor will it ever be, but those were my first written songs – and they were filk!
I’m always up for making music together, writing lyrics, living music. I’ve been involved in various projects that have resulted in beautiful music and equally beautiful friendships. These include an Elfquest song project, Buffy-Filk and various nature-spiritual songs.
Probably my most popular song is the one about Egidius, the cave mole rat who is unhappily in love. That was also a collaboration, the aim of which was actually a triad about the Triple Goddess. That escalated quickly. I wrote a complete filk album about Lynn Flewelling’s “Tamir Triad” and was awarded the title “Official Bard of Skala” by the author. I’m proud of that.
I took part in Nanowrimo in 2010. I actually finished the novel and “Morrigan’s Birds” was published in a small edition by a small publisher.
I’m still proud of that book today.
This is getting too long! I’ll stop now and let others speak!
When Sylvia writes a song, it’s because it has to come out of her. When Sylvia sings, she laughs and screams and howls and whispers. Not for a good show, but because she feels it. And then I feel it too. Because she tells me a story that comes out of her, no matter who it’s about. It is always Sylvia’s story, which tells of fate, joy and suffering, which suddenly becomes tangible and sends her audience into a dance of butterflies, goose bumps, tears and laughter. This thoroughly honest music leaves no one untouched – if you don’t believe it, you’ve never heard it.
Sylvia reflected an entire trilogy so beautifully in one song that I really wanted to read the Tamir Triad by Lynn Flewelling. The album she created for this is an incredible blend of different instruments and styles, from creepily dark to so glorious that it brought tears of joy to my eyes as I listened.
The music she has created to accompany her own book “Morrigan’s Birds” also draws you even deeper into the magic of this story than her words alone.
With many of her songs, Sylvia shares her feelings and thoughts about life, love and suffering. She makes music that creates colorful images for me and weaves them with words that are just right. I am very glad that I am often one of the first to hear her new projects.
great inspirer, passionate lyricist, motivational singer, great duet partner, has incorporated her own signature melody in many of her songs; together we were able to create a beautiful piece of music from unfinished melody parts (The Secret)
I think of some magical moments you created together with others. (AG Amhran, Elfquest)
Music that comes from the heart.
She sits there with her guitar and talks about magical places, mystical things or simply about her life.
It was really nice to be there virtually in your living room and listen to your music.
Music that comes from the heart and goes to the heart. Music that takes you away, enchants you and makes you think.
When you make music, you are somehow completely yourself. There’s nothing fake, nothing hidden, nothing put on. When you make music, you are music, and then you are all heart and soul.
Starting with heart-warming covers, the urge to express yourself differently and a creative interest in enchanting stories grew into the desire to fill the world with emotional, authentic music and to accompany dreams with music.
With a powerful and warm voice, accompanied by vibrating guitar strings and sometimes in touching harmony with other people, you take us on journeys – into your innermost being, into strange worlds, enchanting myths and magical dreams.
To quote you: “Silver-bright the sound of the strings, a song of magic. Only when I sing am I not afraid, only when I sing am I free! Only when I sing does the wind carry my song far away into the distance. When I sing I remember who I am, my soul can go home.”
I find your creativity remarkable. Somehow the music just comes to you where others find it difficult. I remember sitting there with Claudia and Mö and we were frantically trying to find a melody to her lyrics (keyword: Elfquest CD). At some point, you came along and poof, you created a complete song from the Hämdsärmel. A song by you is recognizable as such. You have a very specific way of putting melodies together.
I find this creativity really impressive.
Moni, my sister-in-law:
And what can definitely be said about you is that you make the world a nicer place for many people, like through your through your music and your kindness and of course for your cat and your little cat
Michi, my husband:
Between lost names and amphibians in love, and between mold gardens and steps to heaven, I fell in love with Sylvi’s voice and then the whole Sylvi. How do you write about music that for me spans silver threads between trees and where I see thousands of fireflies dancing in the mystical fairy forest and about a woman between profundity and wonderful silliness, between light and darkness? How do you write about such music, such an artist, without sounding cheesy?
A friend from Ireland said: “… The voice of a Sheegui, made from mist and dreams”