Buster Keaton can project through silence; in the opening scenes of his 1922 silent film Cops, he stands opposite his love interest as she turns away from him, leaving him dejected behind a fence—his eyes seemingly full of turmoil and youthful despair. The original film was without a score, and Keaton was left expressing his emotions through actions alone. At this year's ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, with plenty of practice composing beautiful dissonance, is having a go at providing a voice for the silent star.
Joining Ranaldo is the mercurial guitar player Marc Ribot, who will be doing his share of narrating the silent with his score for Charlie Chaplin's 1921's film, The Kid. Later, Ribot will be playing at the festival with his band, Los Cubanos Postizos. Although these two films will be the event to catch, there will also be a world premiere of a joint project from Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison called the Great Flood.
As it is a guitar festival after all, there will be a slew of bands like Calexico, My Brightest Diamond, Richard Thompson, and Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub, as well as many more for support.
ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival will be held at the Krannert Center in Urbana, ILlinois September 8-10. Updated information about tickets and line-up can be found on their website.