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The Land of 10,000 Homeless

From 2005 - 2010 Sound and Sight, LLC president Andrew Turpening worked on a passion project that combined his skill in composition with his longtime work in social services - The Land of 10,000 Homeless. The title is a take on Minnesota's state motto, The Land of 10,000 Lakes, and is quite literal - every night, Minnesota housing experts estimate that 10,000 people in the state are either sleeping in shelters, outside, or 'couch hopping'.

To create music for the project, Andrew interviewed 14 people in the Twin Cities who were experiencing homelessness, which added up to 12 hours of audio. He then extracted the most interesting and insightful parts of these interviews and composed music to accompany the interview clips. For the principal song of the project, 'The Land of 10,000 Homeless', he created a video using images and video of Minnesota's homeless.

In 2010, Andrew was asked by Pennsylvania's Appleseed Recordings ( to contribute songs and his compositional and production skills to their CD, 'Give US Your Poor: 17 New Recordings to Help End Homelessness'. Andrew contributed songs to the CD and scored poems ready by actors Danny Glover and Tim Robbins (these pieces are linked below).

The project was a success: Andrew was awarded a Human Rights Fellowship by the University of Minnesota's Human Rights Center, and during his fellowship he completed the project; several songs from the project were played on National Public Radio's 'Day to Day' program in 2010 for an audience of millions; Andrew presented his work at two Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless annual conferences; and songs from the project are still used in schools and universities throughout the county in classes that address poverty and homelessness.

Please browse the songs, video, and articles below from the project . . . 

This is the video of the song 'The Land of 10,000 Homeless'. Andrew composed the music. It was mixed and mastered by  Los Angeles-based composer/producer Danny Burke (

'Impossible Boulevard' is a poem brilliantly performed by actor Tim Robbins (star of The Shawshank Redemption, The Player and many other films). Andrew scored and mixed the music. In the piece, Mr. Robbins plays the part of a European immigrant who ends up homeless in Los Angeles but finds redemption and a chance at his version of the 'American Dream' at the end of the piece.

In this piece, actor Danny Glover (star of many films including the Lethal Weapon series) reads a beautiful poem, 'My Name Is Not Those People', written by Duluth activist Julia Dinsmore. Andrew scored and mixed the music.

This playlist contains three songs from 'The Land of 10,000 Homeless' project. The songs feature the voices of the homeless in Minneapolis - Toi, Bill, Nanette, Mashelle, Jennifer, Shawn, Tachena and Tommy. Each interviewee was paid for their time and contacted once the project was completed.


All music by Andrew Turpening (copyright 2010 BMI, All Rights Reserved).

In 2015, Sound and Sight president Andrew Turpening gave a presentation about The Land of 10,000 Homeless project in Ashland, Wisconsin. In preparation for this presentation, Ashland Elementary Charter School students listened to music and watched video from the project and then wrote their thoughts onto poster board, which were displayed in Ashland. Please scroll through these poster boards below . . .

In 2012, a Minneapolis-based teen dance troupe performed an original choreography to the song The Land of 10,000 Homeless. Please click HERE to watch this video.

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