A Perfect Surprise: Llamadoll in FlynnSpace

Oct 10th, 2019

A preview of Llamadoll: Silent Shorts II, performing in FlynnSpace on Saturday, October 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, October 13 at 3 pm.

I once heard a famous classical singer tell an audience, “It’s a funny thing when you commission something: whatever you get back….that’s what you have.” For her, that was code for “I’m sorry for what you’re about to hear, but there’s really nothing I can do about it.”

Her quote popped into my mind for an entirely different reason last year when I was watching the Flynn-commissioned Silent Shorts by the group Llamadoll. I had commissioned the piece, and, true enough, I could not believe what we got back: a melding of silent film and original music that was utterly magnificent and revelatory, charming and hilarious, entertaining and thought-provoking.

It was easily one of my favorite shows of the 2018/19 season, and it’s the reason I’m so excited to welcome the group back for Silent Shorts II, featuring all-new music and film selections. The show happens in FlynnSpace on Saturday, October 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, October 13 at 3 pm.

Read more about Llamadoll in this Seven Days profile by Jordan Adams (November 28, 2018): Burlington Musicians Compose and Play for Classic Silent Shorts

Llamadoll’s maestro is Johnnie Day Durand, a brilliant composer and virtuosic saw player with a deep knowledge of silent film. The music is an eclectic array of sounds that encompasses glockenspiel, saw, mbira, surf guitar, and percussion. Effects range from dreamy to jarring, and accompany the films in perfect and often-surprising ways.

The films themselves run the gamut from the wacked-out stop-motion animation of Russian master Ladislas Starevich, visionary pieces by Melies and the legendary Lumière Brothers, and a hilarious Felix the Cat clip to short works by geniuses Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, and many more. All in all, the evening features 10 short films in a 80-minute run time.

It’s a perfect lead-in to the Vermont International Film Festival, and as near-seamless a union of film and music as you’re likely to see (and yes, that includes Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi, which was performed at the Flynn last month).

Support local music, support new music, support live music with film . . . come see the show.

Steve MacQueen
Artistic Director

Filed in: Film  Music 

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