I’m going to tell you to do something I don’t usually endorse. Go to your computer. Find the Liberation Prophecy website or Facebook page. Click on the Liberation Living Room link. Call your children to watch. It’s only a 15-minute Web show; they can go back outside after it ends. Now sit back and enjoy.
Liberation Living Room is both a live, children’s concert and an eclectic children’s Web show. It is the brainchild of saxophonist Jacob Duncan and his band, Liberation Prophecy. The lucky few who were winners of the band’s raffles got to go to Greenhaus, a furniture store in Germantown, and watch the antics of the band and their special guests. Past guests have included: Will Oldham, Ben Sollee, Rachel Grimes, Tyrone Cotton, and Norah Jones. The Squallis Puppeteers are also regular guests at the shows. According to Duncan, over 1,000 people registered to win only 40 tickets to the Norah Jones show. But rest assured, those who weren’t lucky enough to win the Facebook raffle can watch the Web show this summer. The Web show will have additional filmed content, including a scripted green room segment where Duncan talks with a puppet bear about concept words.
“You know, most children’s shows have concrete words,” said Duncan. “Well, we were like, ‘What if you had a show that basically when you had a word for young kids it was a concept word like peace? What does that mean?’ So we have this funny little thing between me and a bear. And then kids, basically five through 10 year olds, tell what they think peace is. And it’s really touching.”
According to Duncan, who works with children with behavioral disorders and autism, Liberation Living Room is the best thing he has ever done. The idea for the show occurred to him while he was waiting for the band’s new album, “Invisible House,” to be released. He spoke to a friend about what to do during this down time and was advised to start a podcast to promote the album. Instead Duncan decided to create a kids’ show. Duncan admitted that this was a seemingly crazy idea. But when he introduced the idea to the band, they liked it.
“I think that part of the thing about being a musician that is really rough, especially when you’re an actual working musician – you’re playing music at night a lot, after your kid might have gotten to sleep,” said Duncan. “And most everyone in the band has kids. And one of the best things about life is to play music. That’s what we do. It’s like the funnest thing ever. But the other funnest thing is our kids. It was basically, ‘Hey, why don’t we do something that’s creative and different? And your kids can come and so can your significant others and we can have the best of both worlds.’”
What is unique about the Liberation Living Room shows is Duncan’s devotion to creating a child-centric experience. The set of the show is tightly-packed and intimate. Children sit on the floor steps away from the musicians.
“Parents are not comfortable at our show,” said Duncan with a laugh.
But that doesn’t matter to the band because parents are not the focus of the show. Only children can win the free raffle tickets to the live shows. Winners are allowed to invite two guests. If parents are lucky, their kids might choose them.
“It’s a show about kids, for kids, and they’re in charge,” said Duncan about why they chose to do a raffle for tickets. “And we like to have some epic guests because we like to see the parents act like little kids. If we can get the parents to just let go of all of this madness that we’ve created and just get excited about an artist in a small, intimate space – and the kids are already excited just to be there – then they’ll be on the same plane and they can meet each other. Because the problem really is the adults. We’re all so stuck in our worlds. And there’s also not a lot of opportunities that are free and epic for kids around Louisville. We wanted to do something with music that is also Louisville-centered. In the future, we want to do something with artists and painters. It’s a community effort, you know. And we love Louisville, all of us.”
At the time of this interview, Duncan and his band had recorded five live shows and were working on post-production. His production crew is filming, recording, and editing pro bono because everyone is excited to help.
“Everyone loves the program,” said Duncan. “It gives everyone a chance to be a kid themselves!”
Duncan has released two episodes of the Web show this summer and plans to produce more live shows, possibly all over Louisville. Without giving too much away about his dreams for the future, Duncan admitted that the band wants to create a website for the shows that is highly interactive and community- and child-focused. In addition to featuring the concert Web shows, he hopes to have a page of community resources for families and avenues for children to share their talents.
So, when you and your kids tune in to the Liberation Living Room this summer, you’ll hear great music, see puppet interviews, and most of all enjoy kids acting like kids.
“They’re asking questions,” said Duncan about the kids in the show. “They’re really excited; they’re really bored. They’re really into it; they’re not. They’re really dancing; they’re like, ‘What is dancing?’ No one’s phony. And that’s the great thing too: All of the artists have to be really authentic. You can’t go in there with an attitude or like being cool because kids will see right through that. I mean, right through you. So you basically have to go in there like you’re a puppet and have a good time and be like, whatever. It’s basically totally empowering children. They ask the questions. Basically, the show is all about the kids. And it is the kids. They’re awesome.”
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