The Guardian festival blog: Wormwood Scrubs blues: inside the gig mixing prisoners with the free | Music

Fifty years after Johnny Cash gave the most famous prison concerts of all time at Folsom and San Quentin, the British penal system finally has an equivalent.

On Thursday night, the Grammy-winning African American folk singer Rhiannon Giddens delivered an intense and emotionally charged concert at HMP Wormwood Scrubs before an audience of both inmates and members of the general public who had bought tickets as part of the London jazz festival.

Performing in the prison’s Grade II-listed Romanesque chapel, Giddens and her accompanist Francesco Turrisi played an acoustic set of gospel, jazz, blues and folk songs drawn mostly from their recent collaborative album There Is No Other. Rapturously received by offenders, one of the biggest cheers of the evening came when Giddens played I’m on My Way from the album, and announced that the composition had been nominated for a Grammy for best American roots song the previous day.



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Straight from The Guardian
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