In a Cañon City, Colorado prison, lifers take pride in the work and creativity they put into the music for a recently released album.
Die Jim Crow Records, the first non-profit label for current and former incarcerated artists in the United States, facilitated the production of the album, titled TLAXIHUIQUI. The project started in 2018 and was released earlier this year. It features music created by seven musicians incarcerated at the Territorial Correctional Facility in Colorado. Genres include country, blues, hip hop, and native vocals.
“Including several lifers, Native American and black performers, a gay Jewish man and a musician convicted of five counts of murder, these performers share their path from remorse to redemption,” said Die Jim Crow. Oxygen.com by e-mail earlier. “Through this musical journey, we discover that there is much more than what is seen behind a conviction and a prison identification number. “
The man incarcerated for five murders, Michael Tenneson, delves into his crimes as well as his past traumas on his songs. In “8788”, he reflects on being sexually assaulted as a child.
He said Oxygen.com by letter that he “was beaten “and” repeatedly molested “in a state-run foster home while growing up.
He said his trauma is “not an excuse but certainly an effect that has marred my perspective on people, life and the authorities.”
Tenneson wrote that his work on the album had enabled him to heal from some of his past traumas, and he noted in his letter that almost all of the inmates he encountered had “a long history of physical, emotional and abuse. psychological ”.
“This album project has been incredibly cleansing – cathartic, a deeply healing psalm that has touched the healing of certain early life traumas and unlocked them,” he said.
In the song “Remorse,” Tenneson proclaims, “Once upon a time I was presented by the newspapers as a cold-blooded animal with no respect for human life.”
He killed three people in a burglary in Wisconsin in 1987 before killing others during a poker game in Colorado – crimes for which he now says he is remorseful.
“The ‘remorse’ is simply and deeply an unvented and unvented expression of my most heartbreaking cry of sadness for the actions I have committed which have claimed the lives of five innocent human beings,” he said. written to Oxygen.com. “There are no words, paintings, songs or stunts of tears of apology, however sincere, that can ever return what I took to my victims and their families.”
While Tenneson says he forgave himself years ago, he credits his work with Die Jim Crow Records for learning to love himself. He called him “The most powerful healing outlet that I have experienced personally. […] This project has really helped me learn to love myself and smile when I look at myself in the mirror.
The label released their first EP in 2016, featuring six songs recorded by Ohio inmates. On June 17 of last year, he released a full album of a former inmate BL Shirelle.
“I want to change the narrative of how incarcerated people are viewed through music,” Shirelle said. Oxygen.com Last year. “When people hear it I want them to hear me as a musician and enjoy the arrangements and the pun and realize, yes this person made some hell of a mistake and spent 10 years in a penitentiary but wow , she’s really great. I can’t wait to cross those cultural boundaries and be humanized that way. “
TLAXIHUIQUI is available to listen to on all streams platforms.
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