By Marcus Henderson
The Spirit of Freedom II rock concert on The Lower Yard aimed to provide healing through music and it hit the target.
The group Continuum rocked out with original music like “Make You Move,” a gritty song about making a woman dance to the music.
Lyrics like, “I want to be there; I’ll never let you go and come and show it to me.” had the crowd of about 60 laughing and cheering.
The band consisted of Robert Jarrett, guitar/vocals; Leonard “Funky Len” Walker, bass; Chris Koppe, lead slide guitar; and Darryl Farris, guitar/vocals.
“This program gives us the chance to be creative,” said Jarrett. “You get a chance to get in touch with your feelings, and playing with good musicians makes you better.”
The group performed “Muddy Waters,” a piece about being addicted to heroin.
Farris sang “Letter I Signed” an inspirational tune about writing letters to family and friends and what he is going to do when he gets home.
“It was a peaceful day,” said Farris. “This gives us the chance to leave prison even just for a little while, and I think the guys appreciate that.”
“I thank Raphaele (Casale), sponsor, for helping us grow as a music program. We would like to get more bands and sponsors so we can be more inclusive.”
Rapper J. “Cali Killa Klown” Medvin took the stage. He performed “Read This Book” over Tupac Shakur’s hit song “All Eyes on Me.” The song addressed people who hate on you and talk about you behind your back.
“It’s more to a book than its cover,” said Medvin.
He tackled the lifestyle of a meth addict in “Can’t Escape the Bubble.”
“It’s an anti-drug song,” he added, “on what I’ve been through and how it can ruin your life. I don’t think a lot of rappers have touched on the meth topic.”
He wanted to perform his “All Lives Matter” piece about police brutality, but it could have been he thought it would be controversial due to the deaths on July 7 events in Dallas, Texas, where five police officers were killed.
“It wasn’t about promoting violence,” he stated. “I wanted to present our side of the story and how we feel about it.”
Medvin is White and believes Hip Hop is what can heal us.
The band Quentin Blue showcased all original songs that they co-wrote as a group.
“You Should Be with Me,” their psycho song, was about a guy with a split-personality. He acts crazy in the verses then he’s nice in the chorus.
“Sunshine in Your Eyes” was about seeing God in everybody, but the most personal song was “Santa Cruz.”
Singer Richie Morris wrote the song about his cousin Maggie, who died from cancer.
“We used to be real close until I caught my murder beef,” said Morris. “I tried to capture our memories together.”
Other Quentin Blue performers were Allen Brown, guitar/vocals: Jose Vieyra, bass: and Dwight Krizman, drums/vocals.
“Programs like art and music help us heal,” said Krizman. “Ninety-five percent of us are coming out one day. So the people on the outside should want us to come out better people, so we can heal others.”
Casale added, “It is about a change of heart and mind. Some of these guys might be your neighbor one day, so we want them to have anger management, education and artistic programs. If it’s with an instrument, a brush or acting, it’s therapy.
“They get in touch with their feelings and start to figure stuff out. They gain confidence on things they didn’t know they could do.
“We are getting our yard program down to a science, and all the bands are starting to see themselves as one group.”
The band Our Founded Songs (OFS) closed the July 9 show.
Singer Wade Morgan wrote his song “Somebody Please” about his ex-wife.
“She run off with another man,” said Morgan. “But I still love her.”
The group sang “Purple Rain” as a tribute to Prince.
Singer Michael Adams lent his soulful voice while Indian Vance, the band leader, wielded the guitar with skill.
The other OFS members were Joey Barnes, bass; Ben “Geronimo” Chandler, back-up singer; and Greg “White Eagle” Coates worked the drums.
“Music is my self care,” said Coates. “I’ve been down 42 years, and you have to have something to look forward to that brings you hope and grounds you spiritually.”
Chandler concluded, “It’s always a joy to hear live quality music. This is one of the most positive things here.”