Music and Prisons Workshop:
Check In (10mins)- Windmill
Have the group mill around the room while music is playing. When the music stops they should find someone close to them and answer the following questions:
- A memorable album cover, what stuck out to you? What colors were involved?
- What is your go-to song for when you’re feeling down?
- What is your go-to song from when you’re feeling happy?
- Share a musical experience that changed your life. For example, hearing a song, going to a festival, concert or political event. What did that feel like? What was your takeaway?
Group report back: Share what your partner felt like for the life changing activity.
Reuben and Jova (5min) -Song share and talk about why and how music is so important as a political tool.
Group brainstorm: (10 mins)
- Why is music important for social justice movements?
- How can music healing?
Timeline of Music about prisons- 45min
There are many songs about prisons written over a wide span of time. Today we are going to listen and talk about a few of the many songs about prisons/jail:
Billie Holiday-"Strange Fruit"
LeadBelly: -Jail House Blues
Johnny Cash-Folsom Prison Blues
Chuck Berry-Thirty Days
Elvis Presley-Jailhouse Rock
Tony Orlando Featuring Dawn:
Bobby Fuller Four- I fought the law
Archie Shep- Attica Blues
John Lennon: Attica State
Exodus “The last Act of Defiance”
NWA:Fuck the Police 1988
Public Enemy- Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
Michael Jackson: They Don’t Care About Us
The Roots- Criminal
(Folks can free write while we are listening)
Group brainstorm-what issues are folks talking about in these songs? What themes are similar? Which are different?
Group Activity (45min): The Remix- Groups Visual Arts, Dance and Song/Poetry.
What is a remix? Folks will take a moment to reflect on the themes that came up in the songs we heard earlier. Choose a song or two and remix it using whatever artistic discipline they connect with.
Group Share Back (10 mins)
Check out: Full group karaoke using James Brown “I Feel Good” -5min