By Madeleine Twyman
About the guest blogger: Madeleine Twyman is a Singer/Songwriter/Dancer from Toronto, Canada. Madeleine trained at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City and was a member of the Martha Graham Ensemble. Ms. Twyman’s original music and choreography earned her an Underground Music Award nomination for her live show ‘Madeleine’s Mind’ which graced stages at The BB Kings Blues Club, Webster Hall and The ING NYC Marathon. Madeleine blends music, dance and social commentary to empower as she entertains.
Since a child I have been fascinated by prison. An idea even then, that I was unable to wrap my head around. The caging of a man, of a mind, of a soul.
I could go on and describe to you all of society’s ailments and explain the heinousness of the prison industrial complex as I plead with you to heed the undeniable stats and facts of the disparities in the justice system…
But alas the audience comes to be entertained and I, the troubadour, the artiste, the performer must be beguiling and clever in my approach. In today’s fast food music industry any form of unpleasant truth could be mistaken for an irritating self-reminder.
Martha Graham said that Artists are messengers of God, and I do not disagree. Art, whatever the medium, is about telling the truth. It is our confession of the best and of the worst in us. Radical art is the kind of amazing work that The Prison Arts Coalition dedicates itself to with their countless examples of the healing power of this transformative gift. Art is the inspiration that lights the match of action in unity. We need art work that vitalises, galvanises and enlightens. Art that gives a voice to the voiceless and exposes the wrongful persecution of our brothers and sisters – this is what I have tried to depict with my song “Mr. Jailer”.
Ancient Egyptians believed the body to be a prison for the soul, and I do not disagree. I explore this theme in my song where we are all enslaved by our egos, the ‘jailer’ of our minds. What is the root of our mental captivity and what is our escape plan from the prison of our socially conditioned thinking? Questions I hope to engage the listener in as they have their own internal dialogue.
The man I describe in my song is a real friend of mine. His name is Manual Pinero, but he is just Manny to me. Charming, intelligent, kind. I looked up to him in many ways. His incarceration affected me deeply and truthfully, this song is for him.
New single off Madeleine’s Mind forthcoming EP ‘Chinese Bamboo’
Written/Composed/Arranged by M. Twyman, P. Bardos (SleptonStudios)
Produced by Jon FX Music INC (credits include Gyptian, Mavado, Shabba Ranks)
Mixed by Grammy Award Winning James Bonzai Caruso
Mastered at Sterling Sound NYC