Musician Charles Neville and several inmate bands are scheduled to perform at Friday’s symposium, “Angola Bound Revisited: Prison Music of Louisiana,” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Receiving Center in West Feliciana Parish.
The symposium, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is an overview of the historical development of music by inmates. Panel discussions will focus on Huddie William “Leadbelly” Ledbetter’s experiences at Angola during the 1930s, and music collected at Angola by Harry Oster in the late 1950s, which includes bluesmen Robert Pete Williams and Hogman Maxey.
In addition to performing, Neville, of New Orleans’ famed Neville Brothers, will be part of the panel whose participants also include current and former prison musicians Adam Machado, of Arhoolie Records, who is currently editing the Oster collection, and Benjamin Harbert, of Georgetown University, who directed “Follow Me Down,” a film about music from three Louisiana prisons.
A prison music exhibit will be on display at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum, whose foundation is hosting the event.
The exhibit features newly discovered images and songs of prisoner performers and stories and images of Freddie Fender, the “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” musician who was arrested in the early 1960s for possession of marijuana in Baton Rouge and served nearly three years in Angola.
Made possible by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the Biennial Louisiana Corrections Symposium is free and open to the public; registration is required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit angolamuseum.org. Attendees can buy box lunches.