December 10, 2019

Founder and community arts activist, August Tarrier, discusses Songs in the Key of Free with the Shrinks on Third

You can also learn more about another of August's initiatives that are mentioned in the podcast, called The Super Heroes project.

August and Miles had the opportunity to sit down and chat with WHYY's Radio Times host Mary Cummings-Jordan, along with two inside participants, Paul and Cody, who phoned in from SCI-Graterford. The conversation is interwoven with original songs by Paul, and Cody.

"SCI Graterford hasn’t had a music program in a decade. That’s changing now, and soon, you’ll be able to hear it for yourself.

In an album. On a podcast. In a documentary. Through livestreams.

And all the songs will be written and performed by Graterford inmates themselves, thanks to fledgling music nonprofit Songs in the Key of Free."


"The harmonies weren’t coming easily to Tom, a graying man from Kensington who has only recently, at age 57 inside Graterford Prison, begun learning to make music...

“This gives us a chance to be human,” he said. In prison, he added, those chances are rare.

The program he’s a part of, Songs in the Key of Free, represents a long-awaited dose of humanity for Pennsylvania state prison inmates. It is the first formal music program at Graterford in more than a decade."

Generocity Article: Americans want fewer prisoners. What's art got to do with it?

November 14, 2017


A unique year-old pilot music program inside Pennsylvania’s largest prison needs funding to keep going. Its early success and relationship with the state offers a look inside our appetite for — and the limits of — a new kind of criminal justice reform.

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