Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi + HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs

Prison-arts charity Koestler Arts and music producers Serious announce their collaboration on a special one-off event, staged inside HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs. In the first concert of its kind at the EFG London Jazz Festival, members of the public will be invited into the historic and atmospheric prison chapel to enjoy a musical programme performed by Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens, with support from an ensemble of prisoners.

This musical contribution from the prison will mark the culmination of a 3-week vocal project inside. The 15-20 participants from HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs will not be musical experts, just people with enthusiasm to try something new. Over 8 workshop sessions they will have the chance to explore different vocal styles, from gospel to beat-box. Along the way, they can test and explore their creativity, confidence, self-expression and ability to work together. Raising their voices, in the best possible way. Experienced workshop leaders Sherry Davis and Alain ‘Fusion’ Clapham will facilitate this exploration.

The headline act on the night is Rhiannon Giddens, performing music from her latest album there is no Other with Francesco Turrisi. Rhiannon Giddens is a masterful singer, banjo and fiddle player, blending American musical genres like gospel, jazz, blues and country. Her elegant, prodigious voice and fierce spirit come alive in her performances, showcasing her extraordinary emotional range and dazzling vocal prowess. Hearing her sound resonate around the walls of the
Victorian prison chapel at Wormwood Scrubs is bound to be a powerful experience. Rather appropriately, her new album is at once a condemnation of ‘othering’ and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.

Sally Taylor, Chief Executive of Koestler Arts, said: “We are thrilled at Koestler Arts to be involved in this extraordinary and ground-breaking event – the first EFG London Jazz Festival gig in a prison. HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs could not have been more supportive of this unique series of workshops and the concert, which we know will live long in the memory of all who come and, importantly, those who perform.” Sara Pennington, Governor of HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs, said: “This opportunity for men at Wormwood Scrubs to collaborate through music is an important step towards making positive change. This performance requires participants to step outside their comfort zone, develop new skills, self-esteem and confidence. We welcome members of the public to our historic chapel to enjoy the concert together and share in their achievement.”

Tickets for this unique event are on sale from Friday 30 August and are available via Eventbrite here.