The Day Wu-Hae (and I) Went to Prison

Wu-Hae are a band based in Nowa Huta, Krakow. They’re a great band who you can hear here and here, and last week they went to Montelupich Prison, Krakow, to play a gig for a group of prisoners who have been enrolled in a rehabilitation program.

Bzyk, Wu-Hae's singer/air guitarist, sitting in the rehearsal studio. They have occupied the same space for five years and it's entirely personalised, with an abundance of plaster-casts of babies heads..

Wu-Hae set-lists on the wall at their rehearsal studio.

The band usually assemble bizarre stage shows, with pyrotechnics, body painting, crazy sets and plenty of energy (see the photos on their website, http://www.wu-hae.pl/) but for a prison performance it’s best not to bring fireworks I suppose.

Prisoners watch Wu-Hae performing in Montelupich Prison, Krakow.

We were also forbidden from photographing the faces of prisoners or guards, which limited the scope of what could be done considerably.

A guard watches the prisoners.

The band performing.

Prisoners' shadows.

From up in the cell blocks either side applause and shouts could be heard. After the first song, while the band were adjusting instruments and all was quiet, a single voice yelled out “Shut up! I’m trying to sleep!”

Andrzej singing.

A guard watches the band's performance.

The band and media being led out of the prison under the watchful gaze of the Virgin Mary.

But, despite a lack of pyrotechnics and a rather oppressive feeling being surrounded by guards (it is a prison though, so that can be forgiven) it was a great live set with loads of energy. The prisoners were nodding their heads and seemed to enjoy it, and it must have been a welcome bit of entertainment for them.

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About Muzungu

I’m a Uganda-based freelance photographer (and occasional writer) working for a broad range of clients including NGOs, newspapers and magazines and development agencies. My work has taken me across East Africa, South America and Europe, and previous clients include USAID, the World Bank and the East African. I also work on personal documentary projects in my spare time. If you’d like to hire me or to know more, please feel free to get in touch.
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