The Release of Albert Woodfox

On the 20th February 2016 Albert Woodfox, one of three men (known as the "Angola Three") who were placed in imprisoned solitary confinement in 1972, was released from Louisiana State Penitentiary. Albert had been the last of the trio to still be confined: Robert Hillary King was released in 2001 (overturned conviction) and Herman Wallace in 2013 (he was released pending a retrial, and died from liver cancer 2 days after his release). They had been convicted for the murder of a correctional officer; all have three consistently maintained their innocence throughout and the case itself is marred through lack of substantial evidence.

Back in 2007 I was asked to write the music for a documentary film by Lauren Muchan and Joe Sharp about the Angola Three. Named "Letters To Angola", the film focused around Lauren's pen-pal relationship with Herman, using dialogue taken from their real-life correspondence. To this date it is one of the most moving films I've had the pleasure to work on, and was recognised by the Royal Television Society by winning an award at the Celtic Media Festival 2010 in the Factual category. The film itself was remade into a full-scale documentary called "In The Land of the Free" (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson), and can be found on the DVD's special features (which, due to copyright reasons, means "Letters To Angola" can't be found online anymore).

Since being involved in the project I have followed the story as best as I've been able. An honest reaction to the events seem impossible to achieve without descending into hyperbole - a man has just been released from solitary confinement after a 43 year sentence. In Alfred's words, "Right now I'm just resigned to trying to adjust to being free", and what more could be asked of a man who's been through such things. I would really recommend anyone who's interested in this to do some reading as it's an absolutely fascinating and horrifying series of events.

Welcome back, Albert.

 Albert Woodfox

Click here to hear "Dear Herman", a track from the soundtrack itself.

Dear Herman

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