14 February 2024

Hitchcock Meets Gamelan!

An exciting, immersive cinema experience that connects a suite of new Gamelan music and Hitchcock’s groundbreaking first silent thriller. 

Arts Active are delighted to be working in partnership with the Memo Arts Centre in bringing this unique and innovative cinema event, combining LIVE music accompaniment using Javanese  Gamelan with a British silent movie classic-The Lodger’A story of the London Fog, released  97 years ago on Valentine’s Day, 1927.

Alfred Hitchock’s silent film is a story full of intrigue and suspense, a fast-paced thriller that thrives on a misplaced guilt, a dubious hero and a woman in peril. The film was chosen not only for its gripping narrative but its important Welsh connection with Cardiff-born musician, composer and actor Ivor Novello, whose past music and heritage created a legacy of music carried on today through the Novello Awards for music. 

The St David’s Hall gamelan is a beautiful set of instruments, a valuable and much loved asset. Arts Active is committed to ensuring that opportunities to hear and play the gamelan continue to be available to the widest possible audience. It is particularly important to the Cardiff Gamelan community players to be able to share this exciting piece of new work. Bryony Harris, Learning, Community & Partnership Manager, Arts Active. 

The concept behind developing this authentic cinematic experience with the Cardiff Gamelan community musicians evolved during covid, where Welsh based composer and animateur Helen Woods was experimenting with ways of composing for gamelan using digital media. Following  discussions around the gamelan and Indonesian culture, storytelling and the Wayang performance (puppetry) tradition along with the art of live music accompaniment traditionally associated with silent films, the idea of fusing the two evolved.

In 1914, at the start of the First World War, Novello wrote “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, a song that expressed the feelings of innumerable families sundered by the war. Helen Woods’ Gamelan composition will resonate Ivor Novello pieces throughout the film screening as part of this suite of music. 

So for one night only on Thursday, 21 March 2024, at 7.30pm, Helen along with the Cardiff Gamelan community players and a group of professional musicians, will weave the silent film tradition and live musical accompaniment for the ‘The Lodger’, to echo the Indonesian tradition for epic shadow puppet performances Wayang Kulit of which Gamelan music is integral. 

In addition to  the performance,  there will be a series of FREE ‘Music in Film’ focused participatory school and community workshops,  led by Helen Woods  and workshop leaders within the Vale of Glamorgan.The workshops will teach Gamelan percussions instruments by interacting with short sections of the age-appropriate silent Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 “The Gold Rush”, alongside the 2004 black comedy adventure film of Lemony Snicket’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” to showcase soundtrack, music and the powerful impact of Gamelan music. The sessions will hopefully give a younger audience an appreciation of silent cinema too.

Silent Film Meets Gamelan – Thursday 21 March @ 7.30pm 

Valentine Early Bird Ticket Offer:  £9 & £7 (concessions)  if you book between Wednesday 14 & Wednesday 28 February. Tickets can be booked at  https://memoartscentre.co.uk/Shows/the-lodger-a-story-of-the-london-fog/

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