From the recording FROZEN IN TIME

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"It is inspired by the prison diary of Professor James Tooley, who in Hyderabad, India was wrongfully imprisoned while working on a film about education in slums and shantytowns. Without his work, we wouldn't know that all over the world, parents are pooling their money together and opening their own low cost schools."

James Tooley has just released his book, “Imprisoned in India: Corruption and Extortion in the World’s Largest Democracy.”

About the book

James Tooley has been described as a 21st-century Indiana Jones, travelling to remote parts of the developing world to track something that many regarded as mythical: private schools serving the poor. It was in the Indian city of Hyderabad that Tooley first discovered these schools, and wrote about them in his award-winning book The Beautiful Tree, which also documented state corruption and the attempts to shut the schools down. But the state was to exact revenge: upon returning to Hyderabad, Tooley was unjustly arrested and thrown into prison.

Conditions in the prison were dire, and the jailers typically cruel and violent, but the other prisoners were extraordinarily kind. Chillingly, many had been in prison for years, never charged with anything, often victims of police corruption, too poor to go to court and secure bail.

Imprisoned in India tells the story of Tooley’s incarceration and subsequent battles with maddeningly corrupt Indian bureaucracy, which made him realise how fundamental the rule of law is to the workings of a good society. It’s something we take for granted, but without which all human flourishing is threatened, especially for the poor. Tooley discovered, too, how the human spirit, even amongst those wrongfully imprisoned, can soar above the brutality and tyranny of those in power.

Here's a video of James Tooley discussing what he has found and how he helps some of the world's poorest people.

A poignant story about the “Indiana Jones of education,” Professor James Tooley, who was imprisoned in India for trying to bring education to the ill privileged. Vopnfjord was honoured to read Tooley’s diary that was sent to him, and has adapted Tooley’s story in song: “I will write my prison story down in the margins of this book / Around the great words of Gandhi and the chances that he took / And all of us are guilty and the others they are crooked and corrupt.” The song, like many on Frozen In Time, reveals the deep awareness Vopfnjord cultivates naturally as an artist and a feeling man. The song demonstrates this artist’s compassion and advocacy for important issues that many a folk song in the 60s were known for. As if frozen in time, Vopnford channels a similar vibe as Simon & Garfunkel or Dylan and many of the poets and songwriters documenting the changing times and struggles of their time, and shared on the university campuses and pontificated at coffee houses over coffee and cigarettes and protests.

Buy his book, "The Beautiful Tree"

Lindy Vopnfjord
Acoustic Guitar and Vocals, Wurlitzer Piano on track 4

Rick May
Bass Guitar, Engineered by Garnett Betts at Coast Road Recording, Victoria, BC

Örn Eldjárn
Electric Guitar on track 2, engineered by Snorri Helgason at Snossgæti, Reykjavik, Iceland

Bob Egan
Pedal Steel Guitar

Ian LeFeuvre
Electric Guitar on track 2, Percussion and Drums on track 2, Violele on track 12

Stephen Krecklo
Lap Steel Guitar on tracks 6 & 7

Simon Miminis
Drums and Percussion

Luke Doucet
Electric Guitar on tracks 5 & 11

Todor Kobakov
Vibraphone, Rhodes Piano, Percussion and Drums on tracks 5, 6 & 9

Engineered by Jeremy Darby and Julian De Corte at Canterbury Music Company Toronto

Engineered by Todor Kobakov at Kobakov Sound Toronto

Mixed by Todor Kobakov at Kobakov Sound Toronto

Mastered by Steve Fallone at Sterling NYC

Produced by Todor Kobakov


My work is for the downtrodden children of this nation
From the poorest of the poor, to the black market generation
I’m commonly known as the Indiana Jones of education

The detective took my statement in a distracted sort of way
Telling me there is nothing to fear and this will all soon go away
Now I’m a prisoner waiting bail for a bribe I refused to pay

The local inmates gather round when I arrive
I’ll have to pull myself together here if I want to stay alive
But right away they share their food and everything I need to survive

I wake up to the alarm of the morning call to prayer
The most terrifying wistful sound that will stay with me from there
Like the howls of cats screeching crescendos in the cold night air

I will write my prison story down in the margins of this book
Around the great words of Gandhi and the chances that he took
And all of us are guilty and the others they are crooked and corrupt

It was never my intention for this to be my legacy
So where I am today is not where I’m meant to be

We sit in the shade of a fruit tree
My newfound friends and I on sheets of cardboard around me
And nobody feels fear only friendship over a cup of tea

You can lose yourself completely in a crowded prison cell
Yet no one here appears to be sorry for themselves
They say we’ll all be out tomorrow but they’re joking I can surely tell

The days blur all together the simple pleasures they are few
Freedom’s not a word for nothing left to lose
When everything is gone the only one left is you

It was never my intention for this to be my legacy
So where I am today is not where I’m meant to be