What's an Ectophile? The short answer is that "Ecto" is the name of an album by the American singer/songwriter Happy Rhodes. In 1991 a mailing list was formed to discuss her music, and adopted the name "Ecto". However it soon became clear that many folks on the list wanted to discuss all kinds of music that appealed to them, and hence the concept of an "ectophile" (a person who loves ectophilic music - a bit circular, isn't it?) was born.
Some names that appear when ectophilic music is mentioned include Sarah McLachlan, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Jane Siberry, Veda Hille, Loreena McKennitt, Sheila Chandra, Jewel, Dead Can Dance, Bel Canto, Iris DeMent, Victoria Williams, Mae Moore, October Project, Heidi Berry and many, many others. As a general rule ectophilic music has female vocals, but there are some exceptions to this (Peter Gabriel and Richard Shindell, to name two). For a more comprehensive overview be sure to check out the list of Ectophilic home pages, and of course The Ectophiles Guide To Good Music.
Ecto is much more than a list, however! Over the years there have been irregular but frequent ectogatherings (such as the one in Wuppertal, Germany, that produced these sketches) and people have been known to throw impromptu bashes for visiting ectophiles. A small ectophile subvocabulary has even come about, with concepts like EWS having a certain currency.
How can I become an ectophile?