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December 7, 2021
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

West Baton Rouge Museum

845 N. Jefferson Avenue
Port Allen, LA 70767
This event is FREE and open to the public
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Follow Me Down: A Post Script- Lunchtime Lecture

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

"Follow Me Down: A Postscript" features Georgetown's Dr. Benjamin J. Harbert and Angola Museum's Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando. They will be speaking on Louisiana prison music.

Please join the West Baton Rouge Museum on Tuesday, December 7 at Noon for a lunchtime lecture accompanying the exhibit, Music Behind the Gates. The museum is pleased to welcome Dr. Benjamin J. Harbert and Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando to discuss Louisiana prison music. This program is being offered in conjunction with the current exhibit, Music Behind the Gates


In this talk, Georgetown ethnomusicologist Benjamin J. Harbert will present from his forthcoming book on the history of music at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. After completing a feature-length documentary film Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians (2012) shown in the exhibit, Harbert continued to collect oral histories and scour the prison newsmagazine, The Angolite, and local newspapers for the many ways that music was part of a dynamically shifting institution. The remarkable cases of jazz, country, R&B and gospel performance show how music was a part of overcoming the pressures of the institution by providing ways of collaborating with each other, maintaining sanity, giving back to the community, voicing protest, and enabling unlikely collaborations with administrators and security staff. In a prison historically marked by austerity and violence, music has been an indispensable resource. Profiles of three musicians and musical examples will provide a deep listening into the experiences of incarceration. 


Ben Harbert joined the music faculty at Georgetown University after receiving his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His Ph.D. research was on music in three Louisiana prisons. His current research interests also include documentary film and post humanism. Harbert has been a teaching fellow at University of California, Los Angeles and a lecturer at Pomona College as well as a resident artist at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. Before returning to academia, he directed the guitar, percussion and music theory programs at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.

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