Photo by Alan Lomax via Wikimedia Commons. Famed musician Leadbelly is reportedly in the foreground.

Angola Museum to Host Symposium on Prison Music of Louisiana

The Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum (aka the Angola Museum) will host its Biennial Louisiana Correction Symposium from 9:30am to 4pm this Friday, June 10.

Dubbed “Angola Bound Revisited: Prison Music of Louisiana,” the event will provide an overview of the historical development of music by prison inmates in Louisiana. As its name suggests, the topic marks a revival of the theme from the museum’s 2001 symposium, which also focused on the history of music in the Louisiana prison system.

In addition to performances by Charles Neville, several Angola Bands and the Final Mission Band from Dixon Correctional Center, the symposium will feature a couple of educational panels. Those panels will focus on famed Louisiana folk artist Leadbelly’s experiences at Angola in the 1930s, as well as the music collected at Angola by Dr. Harry Oster in the late 1950s.

Panel participants include Neville, Dr. Benjamin Harbert of Georgetown University (Director of Follow Me Down, a film about music from three Louisiana prisons) and Adam Machado of Arhoolie Records, who is currently editing Oster’s collection.

A music exhibit will also be displayed at the museum that features newly discovered historical images and songs of prisoner performers, such as images of Tejano musician Freddie Fender.

The Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum is located in Angola, LA.