Weeks 4 and 5 of Freedom School 2011

Info for Special Dark’s KFAI listeners:


Tonight I am taking Danami & PC to KFAI’s studios in downtown Minneapolis, MN to sit down with DJ Special Dark and reflect on their experiences from Freedom School 2011.  I asked the fellas to come with me and speak for the incarcerated young men and women we’ve been working with.  The purpose of this appearance is to recap the work completed thus far and also to promote our work to the community at large.  Danami & PC will play some of their own music and discuss the program, reminding listeners that there are Hip Hop artists working in the community every day, not just when it’s convenient.

Check out the KFAI page for Special Dark’s show The Session to stream it LIVE.  For those of you unable to listen tonight, I’ll post it here for you to check out after we appear, but in the meantime, here is a quick recap of the last 2 weeks below:

We made it through the 4th and 5th weeks of our 6-week program and  I personally feel like it’s all coming together nicely.  We’ve lost a few students to transfers and the like, but the rest of them are hitting their stride.  There are fewer photos of the last 2 weeks combined than there were of the first week by itself because I’ve been too busy to take any.  I got to take over as the Production Instructor for 2 class periods when PC spent a few days out of town but since we’re drawing to a close, I’ve had less time to roam around with my iPhone snapping pictures.  It’s usually a positive thing when students leave the facility because it indicates they are going home, but I’ve been spending a significant portion of my time doing on-site recording for students who are unfortunately headed in the opposite direction (incarceration).  On “recording days”, I pack up my home studio rig, throw a few bags over my shoulders, bring it in to the Juvenile Detention Center, and get creative with the space to make it acceptable for crafting records.

Day 13 - Joy & Lashowna

Day 13 - Joy & Lashowna

I won’t lie, the recording has a been a challenge for me.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the music I work on (management/marketing/etc.) but when I’m involved in creating it myself, I’m even more of a pain in the ass.  People rarely get to see that side of me. Many aren’t even aware that I create music at all.  So I need their first encounter with my content to be a quality experience.  Guess what?  I had to throw that whole concept out the window.  You know what they say, “a beautiful thing is never perfect anyway”. We’re literally knocking out entire songs in less than 90 minutes.  I’m talking about students who have never recorded before, performing 3-4 verses (sometimes 3-4 students!), choruses, and ad-libs, with me mixing everything on the fly.

Danami after a recording session.

That said, we have been extremely lucky to be supported by great staff this year.  The student teachers/interns and JCOs (Juvenile Corrections Officer) have made it possible for us to record this much by being extremely patient, staying past the end of their work days for extended periods of time, and helping the students to work on their pieces during off hours.  The entire summer program has been an example of effective teamwork and I can’t wait for everyone to perform their songs at the Freedom School 2011 Showcase on Friday, August 5th alongside Danami, PC, DJ Snuggles, and Maria Isa.

Stadium View Classroom

Please remember that due to confidentiality, we cannot show the faces of our students.

Thanks for reading.  Please check out our other recaps and our photo gallery on the Amplified Life Facebook Page:

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2 responses to “Weeks 4 and 5 of Freedom School 2011

  1. Pingback: Last Day At Freedom School

  2. Pingback: Freedom School 2011 at Stadium View « AmplifiedLife.com

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