Film Screening - Follow me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians

All are invited to a free public screening of Ben Harbert’s music documentary Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana prison musicians (2012). 

The Prisons of Note project at the UiO: Department of Musicology, University of Oslo present a free screening of the film

Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians (dir. Ben Harbert, 2012; 97 mins)

at Salen 1 (ground floor kino), Eldorado Bokhandel, Torggata 9A, 0181 Oslo. 

Follow Me Down is a feature-length documentary about music in prison. Shot over the course of two years in three Louisiana prisons, ethnomusicologist Ben Harbert weaves together interviews & performances of extraordinary inmate musicians — some serving life sentences, some new commits & one soon to be released. The result plays like a concert film, but instead of bright lights & big stages, these musicians rap in okra fields, soothe themselves with R&B in lockdown & create gospel harmonies on the yard. This film offers an unexpected look at prison life, pushing viewers to reach their own conclusions about music, criminality, & humanity.  

The film is followed by a Q&A with the director and producer, Ben Harbert (Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA). 


This free film screening is in conjunction with the Prisons of Note project at the University of Oslo, where Prof. Harbert will deliver a guest lecture on Thurs. 24 August.  

For more information, please contact Dr Áine Mangaoang:


Reviews for Follow Me Down: 

“Well conceived and thoughtful in its representation of the topic, Follow Me Down will be of great interest to ethnomusicologists, Americanists, anthropologists, and other scholars in the humanities and social sciences interested specifically in music and prison life, or music and music making in the context of adversity. It also provides a great educational resource for exploring questions of music and meaning (personal, spiritual, and social), musical continuity and change (in comparison with Lomax’s earlier work), musical ethnography, and ethnographic filmmaking at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”— Francisco Lara, Independent Scholar for University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

“It brings us up to date on the music of the people who are imprisoned in this country. We can no longer imagine it to be the work songs of 70 years’s a really groundbreaking film....a very important film.” — Anthony Seeger, Director Emeritus, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings


Áine Mangaoang
Tags: Musicology, Film, Documentary, Music and Media, Music and Society, Music Sociology, Music and Identity
Published Aug. 14, 2017 4:02 PM - Last modified July 5, 2019 3:49 PM