Release of Harbert Documentary on Music in Prisons

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The old work songs have disappeared from southern prisons, yet a rich musical culture endures. Picking up where folklorist Alan Lomax left off, this documentary visits three Louisiana prisons to explore the role of music in the lives of incarcerated men and women. Filmmaker and ethnomusicologist Ben Harbert captures compelling gospel, rap, and R & B performances in a variety of settings, while his interviews with inmate-musicians-some newcomers, some long-timers, some set for release-provide a glimpse into the psychological aspects of an individual’s prison experience. Most of the people Harbert speaks with reveal vulnerability and regret, along with a keen appreciation for the restorative powers of music.