The Adventures of Prince Achmed

prince achmed flyer copy

The Adventures of Prince Achmed Trailer from jack lockhart on Vimeo.

Chris was commissioned by the National Media Museum to compose an original new score for the groundbreaking animated film ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’. This new work was performed live for the opening night of the Bradford Animation Festival 2014.

Watch a short edit from that night

The Film

Lotte Reiniger’s beautiful 1926 silhouette animation ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’ brings to life magical tales from the ‘Arabian Nights’. The earliest surviving animated feature film – preserved in the BFI National Archive – it has been hailed as one of the world’s most innovative and influential animations. Three years in production and made in card cut entirely by hand, Reiniger’s exquisite shadow characters move intricately through colourful worlds of demons, witches, beautiful princesses and flying castles.


Live with Prince Achmed.

Chris’s creative process:

“After the first viewing I was completely enchanted and excited by the opportunity to work with this wonderful film; running at sixty-five minutes I knew it was a mammoth undertaking but couldn’t wait to get started. The film is silent so unrestricted by language, I watched it a few times with the original orchestration, then again, this time with the sound off and ideas started to come. First rooting it sound-wise where the story takes place, beginning in the Middle East, what sounds, instruments, rhythms take you to the Caliph’s palace? Then there’s an African sorcerer, a spirit island, a journey to China, a fire-witch in a fire-mountain…then Aladdin appears…just incredible. The more I watched, the more I became absorbed in creating the sound worlds of the journey, and falling more in love with the beauty of the animation; I was already starting to think of a life for this beyond the animation festival.”

Listen to a soundtrack edit

Instruments used in this production:

Classical guitar, oud, darbuka, gong rack, bass drum, djembe, tin whistle, bowed psaltery, xylophones, thumb piano, zither, crystal singing bowl, bamboo flute, soprano saxophone, rattles, shakers and bells, voice, sequencing and computer programming.


Rehearsal space.


“Lotte Reiniger’s brilliant ‘Adventures of Prince Achmed’ is a true animation gem. Historically it is an important work in the animation canon – and within the global film community. Moreover, when coupled with musician Chris Davies’s new score, Reiniger’s work leaps anachronistically to present day and back again. It’s as if you’re watching the film as it should be viewed – in the 1920s. His accompaniment is a work of art in itself. I recommend it wholeheartedly.”

Mark Shapiro – Studio Laika

Listen to two full recorded tracks 

“What an evening!

Like something from the Manchester International Festival!

The visuals were fantastic – the cut out and animations – and the music, just stunning – so well matched to the content of the story and characters. That was a real highlight of everything I’ve seen this year. Congratulations to the fabulous musician and to all who made it possible for us to see,  I was completely mesmerised from beginning to end – in fact I didn’t want it to end!”

Pat – who saw the performance at The Vale, Arts and Cinema.

You can book Chris to perform this live for you, please contact him for more information.

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Mobile ~ 07835 368813

Upcoming performances: