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Samadha breathes new life into 'The Golem'

Local ensemble performs original musical score to silent horror film classic

Chris Case The Golem
Photo credit: Brock Scott
BURIED ALIVE: Keyboardist Chris Case leads Samadha in a live performance accompanying the German silent horror film 'The Golem' Friday and Sunday at 7 Stages Theatre.

A recent re-emergence of silent films with live musical accompaniment staged in Atlanta and elsewhere testifies to the enduring popularity of the format, which traces back to the earliest days of cinema. On Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, as part of the Buried Alive! Horror Film Festival, Samadha, a local jazz ensemble, will perform an original soundtrack to the 1920 German silent film The Golem.

Directed by and starring Paul Wegener, The Golem portrays a cautionary tale, based in Jewish folklore, of the consequences of dabbling in the creation of life. A decade later, the film inspired director James Whale’s American horror classic, Frankenstein.

“The soundtrack is not a completely improvised enterprise,” explains bandleader and keyboardist Chris Case. “I go scene-by-scene, adding sound effects and a backdrop with loose harmony and rhythm, which serves as a basis for melodic improvisation.” Samadha members include Amit Gokhale (bass), Greg Perry (drums), Ben Davis (woodwinds) and David Springer (guitar).

Although the score calls for intuition and flexibility, Case says the music is “totally relevant to the film and completely thought-out, rather than a bunch of guys playing random jazz while a movie is projected in the background.”

$12 each for two shows, Friday, Nov. 16, 10 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18, 12 noon. 7 Stages Theatre, 1105 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307, 404-523-7647.



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