The primary mission of the D’Addario Foundation is to bring access to the power and joy of music making. Whether it is to enhance a child’s cognitive and social development or to simply give someone a place to express themselves, there are many ways in which we are exposed to incredibly innovative programs that are addressing a strong need. Over the last three years we have had the privilege of supporting a not-for-profit called Musicambia whose mission is to use the power of music to build supportive communities where incarcerated individuals can build human connections, engage in learning and rebuild their lives. The program enlists professional musicians to go into prisons like Sing Sing in New York and works closely with incarcerated individuals on performance, music theory, ear training and composition.
Kenyatta Hughes is one such individual. Born in a poor section of Kansas City, Missouri, he & his younger brother and their mother & father listened to all kinds of music: jazz, rock, Stevie Wonder, the Police. The impressive man that Kenyatta is today—he has earned a bachelor’s and a master’s in Sing Sing—has come to understand the foolish young man he was when he committed a senseless robbery and murder 21 years ago. “I had no value for life back then,” he says. “No value for my life, his life, any life.” Around the same time, his younger brother, also running the streets in a different part of New York, was shot and killed.
Kenyatta recently performed his own composition accompanied by two other currently incarcerated men (guitarist and percussionist) and a teaching artist (cellist) at Sing Sing:
Click here to see more videos of Musicambia students.