Grammy Award-winning guitarist and composer, Bill Frisell and experimental filmmaker, Bill Morrison have collaborated to create The Great Flood, a 75-minute multimedia work of original music and film that will have its world premiere at ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival at Krannert Center in Urbana, Illinois, on September 10, 2011.
Inspired by the 1927 Mississippi River floods—the most destructive floods in American history—Morrison and Frisell have created a stirring, contemporary perspective on this natural disaster and the ensuing transformation of American society and music. In the spring of 1927, the Mississippi River broke out of its banks in 145 places and inundated 27,000 square miles to a depth of up to 30 feet. Part of its enduring legacy was the mass exodus of displaced sharecroppers. Musically, the Great Migration of rural southern blacks to Northern cities saw the Delta Blues electrified and reinterpreted as the Chicago blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Frisell’s wide-ranging musical palette, heard in his more than 30 recordings, will draw on American roots music but, as always, will be refracted through his own highly personal musical vision.
ELLNORA’s artistic advisor, David Spelman, notes that “it’s exciting to have Bill Frisell return to the festival with a project commissioned by Krannert Center. We’ve presented several world premieres since launching the festival in 2005, including Phil Kline’s large sound installation World on a String and The Long Count, a multimedia work from The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner. Our programming philosophy stems from Krannert Center’s commitment to fostering the art of the future while celebrating the many rich cultural and aesthetic legacies of the past. The Great Flood is a project that perfectly reflects this philosophy.”