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Prison blues, as true and real as they get

Angola prison is the largest maximum security prison in the United States.

Angola prison is the largest maximum security prison in the United States.

It houses 5,000 inmates, 90 per cent of whom will never set foot outside the prison walls for the rest of their lives.

Thieves, rapists, murderers and child molesters call the Louisiana state penitentiary home.

But despite all the ugliness, Canadian blues singer Rita Chiarelli found something beautiful behind the walls in her documentary Music From The Big House.

“I wanted to do something about the blues and there was something about this place, this land, its history, it was just fascinating,” Chiarelli said.

“No one has ever done something about the musical history of Angola.”

Chiarelli brought on acclaimed director Bruce McDonald to film her soulful musical documentary as she makes a life-changing pilgrimage to the birthplace of the blues.

“Rather than me doing a concert for the inmates, which has been done, the idea was for me to do a concert with the inmates,” she said. “That was a moment of enlightenment.”

Music From The Big House premieres at the Edmonton International Film Festival tonight at 8 p.m.

 
 
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