Live Music To Accompany 1927 Silent Film At Keswick's Alhambra Cinema

The Keswick Alhambra Cinema will re-live the days of silent film at the gala opening of the MINT Chinese Film Festival on Friday 3rd February, with live music from Edinburgh-based composer, harpist and pianist, Aurora Engine, accompanying the 1927 Shanghai classic, Cave of the Silken Web.

Fusing real instruments, voice and progressive electronica, Deborah Shaw of Aurora Engine uses sounds and inspiration from the natural world: birdsong, the tides and community voices, to create beguiling songs and compelling sonic landscapes. Commissioned to compose an electronic based score for this iconic Chinese feature, Shaw has juxtaposed the traditional with the sometimes ethereal, sometimes jarring sounds of synthesised and electronically manipulated music. Blending these with harp, piano, voice and a selection of Chinese instruments, she has created a magical musical accompaniment, reflecting the literary folklore themes of the film whilst responding to the spellbinding colour changes.

"We have a tradition of having to bring in the music," says cinema co-owner, Carol Rennie: "a Reminder article tells us that we screened the world's first talking picture, The Jazz Singer, in 1927, but as we didn't yet have the requisite 'Talkie' equipment, Al Jonson was voiced live by "Mr Fred Bucknall, the popular Yorkshire Baritone, who ...render[ed] the full and necessary vocal accompaniment". So this time we went north instead of south for the accompaniment!

Tickets are on sale now for the Opening Gala: drinks & canapes from 4.30pm, with a 5pm introduction followed by the 5.15 film screening.