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Songs about Elves

David W 04 Aug 18 - 11:00 AM
Reinhard 04 Aug 18 - 12:19 PM
Gallus Moll 04 Aug 18 - 12:31 PM
Iains 04 Aug 18 - 01:01 PM
Raedwulf 04 Aug 18 - 01:12 PM
Gordon Jackson 04 Aug 18 - 03:05 PM
leeneia 04 Aug 18 - 03:07 PM
peteaberdeen 04 Aug 18 - 03:08 PM
leeneia 04 Aug 18 - 03:08 PM
Raedwulf 04 Aug 18 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 04 Aug 18 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Shimmering 04 Aug 18 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,John C. Bunnell 04 Aug 18 - 10:05 PM
David W 04 Aug 18 - 10:29 PM
Gordon Jackson 05 Aug 18 - 02:25 AM
Raedwulf 05 Aug 18 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,John C. Bunnell 05 Aug 18 - 05:00 AM
Leadfingers 05 Aug 18 - 05:30 AM
Susan of DT 05 Aug 18 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Kenny B Sans Kuki 05 Aug 18 - 06:45 AM
Raedwulf 05 Aug 18 - 08:09 AM
leeneia 05 Aug 18 - 08:38 AM
David W 05 Aug 18 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 05 Aug 18 - 10:53 AM
Raedwulf 05 Aug 18 - 11:16 AM
Raedwulf 05 Aug 18 - 11:19 AM
Nigel Parsons 05 Aug 18 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 06 Aug 18 - 07:05 AM
leeneia 06 Aug 18 - 11:15 AM
GUEST 06 Aug 18 - 11:18 AM
Ged Fox 06 Aug 18 - 11:28 AM
Ged Fox 06 Aug 18 - 11:32 AM
Raedwulf 10 Aug 18 - 11:47 AM
GUEST 10 Aug 18 - 03:46 PM
Raedwulf 10 Aug 18 - 03:57 PM
Gordon Jackson 10 Aug 18 - 04:29 PM
Raedwulf 11 Aug 18 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,( Skarpi ) 13 Aug 18 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Observer 14 Aug 18 - 07:53 AM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Aug 18 - 06:33 PM
mg 14 Aug 18 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,paperback 15 Aug 18 - 12:02 AM
GUEST 15 Aug 18 - 12:31 AM
Bugsy 16 Aug 18 - 01:24 AM
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Subject: Songs about Elves
From: David W
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 11:00 AM

I'm trying to make a list of songs about elves. Can anyone think of any songs to add to my list, cheers.

So far I can think of.....

Thomas the Rhymer

The Elfin Knight

The Queen of Elfan's Nourice / Elf Call

Lady Isobella & the Elf Knight

Eline af Villenskov / 700 Elves


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Reinhard
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 12:19 PM

King Orfeo (Child 19)

Tam Lin (Child 39)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 12:31 PM

William Shakespeare has an elf/faerie (Ariel) singing some songs in The Tempest..


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Iains
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 01:01 PM

700 elves steeleyespan


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 01:12 PM

There is a poem by Goethe about the Erlkoenig, which was set to music by Schubert (amongst others). The literal translation is alder-king, rather than elf-king. There are also other versions (song & poem) with the same title, some of which are 'filk'. I can't give you any details. I can only tell you that Rika was practising one some 15 years ago & I found, somewhat to my surprise, that I could read the German lyrics upside down, my only German being long-forgotten (or so I thought) schoolboy learning! I think the only word I couldn't puzzle out was the Erl of Erlkoenig! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 03:05 PM

Are you looking specifically for songs that mention the words 'elf', 'elves', 'elfin' etc, because, in traditional song at least, there is no difference between an elf and a fairy, apart from their linguistic origins (Germanic and Celtic respectively). In 'Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads', Wimberly more or less treats them as the same.

This is not surprising, given that, I would guess, by the time most of the ballads would have been composed, English had pretty much settled down into what we speak today, and it's doubtful that, in England and Scotland, the linguistic origins of 'elf' and 'fairy' would have been considered important.

This being the case, would you also be seeking songs about fairies? This would lengthen your list considerably.

How about 'The Wee Wee Man'?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 03:07 PM

Not strictly elves, but nonetheless elfin:

Frosty the Snowman
Here Comes Susie Snowflake   Or maybe suzy


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: peteaberdeen
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 03:08 PM

can't come up with any i'm afraid - but what a great title for a thread. good luck in your search.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 03:08 PM

Scarlet Ribbons, as sung by Harry Belafonte. Who else could have dropped the ribbons on his daughter's bed?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 03:33 PM

Well, if it's about elves, just looking at Steeleye, in addition to Thomas the Rhymer, there's The Wee Wee Man, Elf Call... Ummm, what is your purpose David? I'm not knocking it, but methinks you might get an awful lot of song titles!


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 04:03 PM

How about "Walking in Memphis"? Should I get me coat?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,Shimmering
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 04:18 PM

As you have included Eline af Villenskov in your list, I guess you are open to Scandinavian ballad suggestions ...

These are a couple of the most famous ones.

Herr Olof och Älvorna (Swedish, Sir Olof and the Elves) aka Elveskud (Danish, Elf-shot). Man meets dancing elves on the day before his wedding, they ask him to dance, he refuses, they curse him, he dies, everyone else dies.

Älvefärd (Swedish) or Elvehøj (Danish, the elf mound). Man goes to sleep near an elf hill, elves wake him and ask him to dance, an elf sings a beautiful song, elves offer him some things, god saves the man by sending the dawn, with a cockerel flexing its wings ... or something like that. rather a lot of variation with this one.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,John C. Bunnell
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 10:05 PM

Depending on the parameters of the prospective list....

The "filk" segment of SF/fantasy fan culture has a sizable number of candidates, including material that's been printed and/or recorded. I can supply references once I get home to a proper keyboard & my files.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: David W
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 10:29 PM

Raedwulf

My reason is the band I play for is called Elfsong, so we usually play a couple of songs about Elves when we play. I just want to expand the repertoire.

Gordon Jackson, I agree, fairy songs are great too.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 02:25 AM

Of course, there's the album The King of Elfland's Daughter, by Peter Knight and Bob Johnson. Not my thing ...


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 04:06 AM

You're going to end up with a lot to choose from, I think, David! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,John C. Bunnell
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 05:00 AM

I'll take that as a 'yes". Here are some YouTube links:

"Faerie Queen"
music & lyrics by Heather Alexander (from Wanderlust)

Sometimes referred to humorously as "The Devil Went Down to Limerick". Note that the artist is now known as Alexander James Adams, but work published and performed prior to the change of persona continues to circulate as by Heather Alexander.

"The Duke's Eldest Daughter"
music by Leslie Fish, lyrics by Mercedes Lackey
from Freedom, Flight & Fantasy (Firebird Arts & Music)

This performance is by Heather Alexander. An extremely different arrangement exists on a prior release, but that album is long out of print and very, very rare now.

"Queen of Air and Darkness"
lyrics by Poul Anderson (Westerfilk Collection Vol. II)
[and see the Origins: Sir Olaf thread here on Mudcat)
performed by Clarsa McElhaney (Storyteller)

I may have a much earlier recording of this on cassette(!); this work (based on earlier folk traditions) has been around for many years and was a fixture in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) song circles even before the filk community got hold of it. Unfortunately, the box in which my copy of the relevant songbook resides is presently inaccessible, and online sources differ as to the tune's composer.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 05:30 AM

Donald Swann taught himself Tolkein's elvish and recorded settings of all the Elvish verse in L O T R as well as the Tales of Tom Bombadi


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Susan of DT
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 06:41 AM

Check out the keywords "myth" and "fairy" in the Digital Tradition. Myth includes many creatures other than fairies as well.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,Kenny B Sans Kuki
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 06:45 AM

Previous thread on similar subject

Thread re Songs about Fairies Elves and Goblins


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 08:09 AM

Oddly enough, Lead (long time no speak, how are you, my dear chap?), I believe JRR himself abhorred the idea of anyone trying to set music to Middle Earth. I am a Flanders & Swann fan, but I think I've heard some of Swann's efforts & wasn't impressed. One big hurdle is that Swann was a pianist, and there ain't no pianos in Arda! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 08:38 AM

Here's a beautiful one: Golden Apples of the Sun.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: David W
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 10:03 AM

I'm surprised there's no Anglo-Saxon lyre in Middle Earth, Tolkein missed a trick there. His riddles would have gone great with one.

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Musical_instruments


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 10:53 AM

I went through the usual teenage phase of trying to set Tolkien poetry from TLOTR to music.

A couple have survived the years and years and I'm delighted to hear others sing them, often better than I do.....

Tolkien didn't want them set to music? Christopher Tolkien mentions in his notes that his father used traditional English tunes in his head when writing the obvious songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 11:16 AM

The good prof was always approaching it from the twin p-o-v of language & of story, I think. He wasn't a musician. He could poet, for sure, but whether he had a notion of how music should have sounded... I may be wrong, but I don't think he had a particular notion, and I am fairly sure that I did read something once, etc!

The lyre isn't a well known instrument and, when it is recognised, tends to be associated with Apollo & the Greeks (the A/S version is quite different in form, but doesn't have many more strings & is not much more polyphonic). Which makes it earlier & simpler. In general, early music, where instruments are concerned, tends to be relatively uncomplex, because the instruments are. The Hobbit isn't quite 'canon' in comparison with the rest of the work. Clarinets & flutes (I've always assumed we're taking orchestral flutes, not the earlier, simpler equivalents) and the rest of it... We're now in Shire / Sarehole territory - JRR's presentation of an idyllic 19thC English village.

The reality of Arda is that it is several hundred years simpler & so are the instruments. Harps would exist, but they wouldn't be 23-string clarsachs, never mind modern orchestral jobbies. 15-18 strings maybe, at most, and gut strung, not wire, so quieter, and you can expect the music to be less technically complex. If you treat Arda as being early medieval / late Dark Age, you can expect to have pipes of some sort, harps ditto & drums. Some sort or horns and, possibly, trumpets (serpent or bugle style, not the orchestral type). Woodwinds would be shawm-type instruments. There might be lute style things, but only for quiet, relatively private gatherings. And rebecs. Not violins, viols, or fiddles. Rebecs look somewhat similar, but they are not the same family of instrument.

What you wouldn't have is any sort of guitar or modern orchestral instrument. Apologies if this is thread drift, but then David started the thread & is engaged in any drift, so I blame him! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 11:19 AM

Bloke - it's something I ran across somewhere, somewhen! ;-) I suspect that, in translation, what JRR didn't want was anyone trying to do the orchestral thing, because it wouldn't have been right (qua my above).

But that's an entirely unsupported opinion! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 06:51 PM

"There's a man works down the chip shop swears he's elvish"!

And yes, I seem to remember hearing a filk based on that.

There's also the basic elvish poem about the rings of power:
Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


for which Gandalf gives a translation of the fuller source:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.


However, the best (simplified) version I've heard was set to the tune of "Colonel Bogey" ("Hitler, he's only got one ...")

Sauron, he's only got nine rings.
Three are with the elven kings,
Seven, in dwarvish heaven,
But poor old Frodo's
Got hold o'the one!


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 07:05 AM

Raedwulf. For what it's worth, I wouldn't want an orchestrated version either! The Middle Earth he wove had in its tapestry... (sorry) the oral tradition. He spoke of elves using the oral tradition in song in order to never forget their origins nor the tales of ancient heroes.

One would assume he was thinking of un accompanied and / or harmony singing.

Nigel... Oh dear, you beat me to the Ms MacColl joke... For that, the next time you come to Bob's strummers at the Ukrainian, I may have to sing my take on The Song of the Ents. That'll teach you.. Ian.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 11:15 AM

Back to the topic - songs for David W's band, which is called Elfsong. David, I'm going to assume you want songs in the public domain.

When I was a kid, I read an old poem (prob. 19th C.) about a woman in a humble cottage, singing her baby to sleep. Outside a horrible ogre creeps up, wanting to devour them both. But the woman mentions Mary and/or Jesus in her song, and the ogre is forced to leave, gnashing its teeth in frustration.

Does anybody remember that poem? It could be set to music.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 11:18 AM

Corbet's "Fairies' Farewell"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Ged Fox
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 11:28 AM

Corbet's Fairies' Farewell

Shameful self-advertising, but I've never heard anyone else sing it.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Ged Fox
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 11:32 AM

Technical note: When I used the Preview option on submitting the post, "href" was automatically changed to "hr#f" invalidating the link. Odd.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 11:47 AM

Ummm… Apologies for invoking thread drift again, David, but I just ran across this remark which I thought might be of interest to some, With Tolkien's approval, Donald Swann wrote the music for this song cycle*, and much of the music resembles English traditional music or folk music. The sole exception is the Quenya song "Namárië," which was based on a tune by Tolkien himself and which has some affinities to Gregorian chant.

I still maintain that I read somewhere that JRR wasn't keen on the idea of people setting music because he felt that they would get it wrong. Presumably he agreed with DS that if the tunes ran on the lines of folk melodies... But the piano, for me anyway, still isn't a ME instrument! Oh, and apparently the original album had Swann's cycle on side A, with JRR himself reading stories on side B. Never knew dat! Unfortunately, the only reasonably complete version I can find is this - unfolklike piano & operatic baritone. Alas, how un-Arda!

*The Road Goes Ever On is a song cycle that has been published as sheet music and as an audio recording. The music was written by Donald Swann, and the words are taken from poems in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings, especially The Lord of the Rings.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 03:46 PM

Referring to Tolkein's songs as poems seems bizarre. I don't know about all, but certainly many of them are clearly sung in the books. And the idea of objecting to them being sung in real life is bizarre, irrespective of whether or not you were the person who wrote them.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 03:57 PM

Since they were only ever presented on the page & without music; as lyric only, in other words; it's hardly surprising that most people regard them as poems, is it?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 04:29 PM

I'm with our unnamed Guest above to an extent, in so far as the lyrics to a song are not necessarily poems (and vice versa). Surely, a song lyric is fifty per cent of a song, i.e. a musical form; a poem is a work of literature, intended to be read or recited, but not necessarily sung?

Tolkien's 'songs' in the books were meant to have been sung - in the books. However, once he put them out there, people are free to attempt setting them to tunes 'irrespective of whether or not [Tolkien] wrote them'.

I think most people on Mudcat would probably agree that an orchestra or piano are not going to work very well, and that a harp, lyre or other metal-strung instrument, playing an appropriate traditional or trad-style tune would work best. Having said that, I think they're probably best left alone ...


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 02:32 AM

A valid point, Gordon, but I've also realised I reacted as though the whole lot is an "either / or", which of course they aren't. Some are obviously song, and stated as such - But the dwarves only started to sing "Chip the glasses..." and over the page, and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music. "Far over the misty mountains cold..." Although I've always thought of the latter as more a slow, deep-voiced chant than a song.

Others are more equivocal - The Road Goes Ever On appears once in TH & 3 times in LotR, 3 times spoken, only once is it implied that it is sung, in a low voice, as if to himself, he sang softly in the dark... I say 'implied' because elsewhere it is only spoken, and one may recite in a 'singing' voice, without ever applying a melody (if you see what I mean - a chant, again). And others, again, are surely poems only. Many poems are only poems, and many lyrics are lyrics only (recite them & they're just bad doggerel!), however profound they might be as songs. What does anyone make of "Down, down to Goblin-town"? It was amusingly set to music in the Ralph Bakshi LotR film, but goblins don't strike me as particularly musical folk. I've always thought of it as something to be shouted more than anything! I don't actually know (& can't right now be bothered to look up) what Swann set, or argue over which really are songs.

As for orchestra, whilst I've already said I largely agree, it also has to be said... I don't know how many Catters are gamers; I am, an inveterate one. I joined LotRO (Lord of the Rings Online) at launch in 2007. I've gone back to it this year after a 4 year break (for reasons I won't bore anyone with). The music in that is fantastic; in other games, I usually switch the music off because it's a distraction, in LotRO I leave it on. I believe most of it was originally computer-generated, but latterly it is not. There are no pianos! ;-) And the rest of it is not a regular modern orchestra by any means.

They brought in Chance Thomas to write the music for the Riders of Rohan expansion. I think they've continued to use him since. They even take the trouble to use A/S & JRR's languages (as far as they can) for lyrics. If anyone wants a listen, there is a soundtrack here, (although my favourite is this one). The site (if you look under 'T') has another couple of earlier LotRO soundtrack albums too.

My apologies to David again for thread drift. I console myself with the thought that 1) I'm talking music for a change (instead of rubbish!), and 2) I'm keeping his thread current, so he might get another response to his actual query! *bg*


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,( Skarpi )
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 07:06 PM

From land of the Trolls and Elves and Fairies and the small people as we call them , we have few song´s if you are interesting to sing in Icelandic .

all the best from the North Atlandic ocean .


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 07:53 AM

How about "Galway to Graceland"?

I'll join GUEST,Andiliqueur outside.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 06:33 PM

The Goblin's Riddle by Bernard Parry on Margaret Walters latest CD Steadfast


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: mg
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 07:53 PM

hi ho hi ho it's off to work we go


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 12:02 AM

song of durin


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 12:31 AM

Gil-galad was an Elven-king

Song of Beren and Luthien

Legolas's Song of the Sea


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Subject: RE: Songs about Elves
From: Bugsy
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 01:24 AM

Miles Wootton's "The Gnome".

Cheers

Bugsy


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