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Wurlitza - Live Soundtracks to Silent Films

"I cannot stress enough how good and professional they are, a real gem hidden in Devon and Cornwall. They richly deserve a wider audience and bigger venues." Anson Welsh, author.

We're taking Anson at his word and touring in early June to Leominster and Ludlow, and following this with three films over three days at Glastonbury Festival. For information on each film, please visit our Films Page. or click on the following links; Diary of a Lost Girl, Sunrise, Piccadilly

"Wurlitza are quite amazing, their music closely follows and complements the movie so that the combination comes alive in a remarkable way. Their playing is excellent and their ability to hit visual cues is first class...people spoke to me positively fizzing with enthusiasm." - John Hall - film producer and festival organiser.

Wurlitza are a critically acclaimed five piece band from South East Cornwall who have been specialising in adding live soundtracks to silent films since 2006.

Our set up includes classical and steel guitars, bass guitar, djembe and cahon drums, mixed percussion, keyboards, clarinet and four vocalists. Our wide ranging repertoire includes original, pop, contemporary, classical, jazz and klezmer music, giving us the flexibility to choregraph to fit the mood of every part of the film; our time keeping is to the second and each score takes many hundreds of hours to develop before it is performed. We use a sound engineer to ensure that our sound is always well balanced.

July 2014 saw the culmination of two years work with the premier of our latest project, a soundtrack to Pabst's extraordinary movie DIARY OF A LOST GIRL. This season we are also touring SUNRISE, an exceptional movie by FW Murnau, made with an unlimited budget and often cited as the greatest film of the silent era. We can also offer PICCADILLY; one of the great transition films between Silent and Sound pictures, directed by Ewald Andre Dupont. For more information on each film, please see our film page

"The music was expertly chosen to run seamlessly with the film. It enhanced the experience. It reflected mood and added nuance. The musicianship was excellent. The performance fitted superbly with the images...Why does Wurlitza work? Because they bring magic. And that is never a bad thing." - Ian Craft ‐ Calstock Arts

“Blending contemporary musical themes in a unique and seamless performance, this entertaining hybrid offers a fresh approach to this genre. A musical and visual treat that is not to be missed." - Paul K Joyce - Composer/Producer

“What I particularly admired was Wurlitza's skill in fitting the music to the films from both a timing point of view but also choosing just the right type of music. Whistling Take Five was a masterstroke!" - Nick Bailey - Classic FM

"I loved Wurlitza's pop to classical mix" - Badaude, the Guardian

We very occasionally take on a function and are able to offer a great range of music to suit all kinds of event. We can play light classical music; Spanish guitar duets and trios, jazz sets and solo piano, as well as a full band set and disco. However we are more likely to recommend our friends The Hahas or
The Wireless.

The Wurlitza CDs 'Dance the Night Away' and 'Diary of A Lost Girl' are available by post. Go to the repertoire page to listen and for more details.



Diary of a Lost Girl

New for 2014, after two years in the making, is Wurlitza’s soundtrack for GW Pabst’s 1929 movie Diary of a Lost Girl.

Diary of a Lost Girl was made in Germany at a time of great artistic freedom. Fast moving and at times shocking, Diary of a Lost Girl traces the story of Thymian, played by the mesmerising screen idol Louise Brookes, as her life yoyos between episodes of lightness and innocence, darkness and despair. Moments of great comedy involve life in a reform school for fallen girls headed by a villainous nun, and a modern dance lesson with an incompetent buffoon. This gripping film defies convention, confounding expectations as joy and compassion are found in the most unlikely places.

Repertoire for the soundtrack of Diary of a Lost Girl includes music by Django Reinhardt, Fun Boy Three, Portishead, Wire, Chopin and Leonard Cohen.

Diary of a Lost Girl has been very well received in venues throughout Cornwall and Devon. We’ve celebrated the film by making a soundtrack which can be enjoyed on Soundcloud and Spotify.

"The music was expertly chosen to run seamlessly with the film. It enhanced the experience. It reflected mood and added nuance. The musicianship was excellent. The performance fitted superbly with the images...Why does Wurlitza work? Because they bring magic. And that is never a bad thing." - Ian Craft ‐ Calstock Arts



Sunrise

“This song of the man and his wife is of no-place and everyplace: you might hear it anywhere at anytime. For wherever the sun rises and sets…in the city’s turmoil or under the open sky on the farm, life is much the same, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet.” So begins F.W. Murnau’s astonishing film. It is one of the most moving stories ever told on film. Labelled simply ‘The Man’ (George O Brien) and ‘The Wife’ (Janet Gaynor) the protagonists embark on an adventure of temptation, reconciliation, reconsecration and redemption, told with a lyrical simplicity of timelessness and universality.

Sunrise is silent film at its most poetic. Made with an unlimited budget it uses an amazing array of cinematic touches, with a plot that keeps the audience transfixed. Wurlitza have added music that will be both familiar and unfamiliar, from Bach and Villa Lobas to Talking Heads, Echo and the Bunnymen, Madness and the Vapors, as well as some of our own. This is a truly unique and memorable experience, and great for all ages.

Reviews and Comments from our Sunrise Shows:

"I loved Wurlitza's pop to classical mix ...they're fab!" - Badaude (The Guardian)

"Wonderful experience with such talented live music to accompany a gorgeous film."

Piccadilly

Piccadilly was one of the great transition films between Silent and Sound pictures, directed by Ewald Andre Dupont. It features the last good work of several distinguished 1920's figures and is one of the true greats of British silent films, on a par with the best work of Anthony Asquith or Alfred Hitchcock in the period.

In the film the Piccadilly nightclub is in danger of decline when manager Valentine sacks his star attraction. But his discovery of talented Chinese dancer Shosho begins a chain of events leading to tragedy.

What we love about Piccadilly is the glamour and we have tried to recreate this with our soundtrack, a heady mix of the jazz standards, classical and ragtime piano, guitar duets, disco, and songs by Leonard Cohen, the Buzzcocks and the Cure.

The clips below are extracts from a live performance of Piccadilly. (The video quality is poor here; we use a BFI remastered copy for live performances.)



Reviews and Comments from our Piccadilly Shows:

"I saw Wurlitza last year and thought the whole evening was fantastic, so really made the effort to come again last Friday which was equally good... I would fully recommend this Cornish band who are refreshingly different. A fusion of everything, jazz, folk, rock and pop with a touch of classical thrown in. What I particularly admired was Wurlitza's skill in fitting the music to the films from both a timing point of view but also choosing just the right type of music. Whistling Take Five was a masterstroke!" - Nick Bailey (Classic FM)

"The performance of Cornish band, Wurlitza this evening provided a daring and singular accompaniment to the silent film classic, Piccadilly. Blending contemporary musical themes in a unique and seamless performance this entertaining hybrid offers a fresh approach to this genre. A musical and visual treat that is not to be missed." - Paul K Joyce (Composer/Producer)

"I thought your Piccadilly performance was amazing...original and beautifully played. Thank you!" - Paul Moss.




diary

Click the links to book tickets

Friday 3rd June, 7.30pm - Diary of a Lost Girl Leominster Playhouse Cinema 01568 616460
Tickets selling fast; scroll through dates to June 3rd to book or call between 9.30-4pm

Saturday 4th June - Sunrise Oscars, Ludlow Assembly Rooms - 8pm. Book online or call 01584 878141

Wednesday 22nd June - Piccadilly Pilton Palais, Glastonbury Festival - 3pm.

Thursday 23rd June - Diary of a Lost Girl Pilton Palais, Glastonbury Festival - 9.30pm.

Friday 24th June - Sunrise Pilton Palais, Glastonbury Festival - 12.30am.

Past Events