Saturday, December 26, 2009


It's mid-day and I am in the prison with the boys. We are in a circle. Two of the inmates act as translators. We are talking about music and sound, and how music can make one feel alive. I like to tell stories about great artists who were once in prison and used their experiences to create great art. I try to explain that Miles Davis once said, "Don't play the butter notes"- meaning: have no fear.

We begin. The hope is that the boys will write a song for the Holiday celebration in the next few days. There are some procedural things which need to be worked out. I am not that good at this stuff.

Among some gentle suggestions : please don't smoke your notebooks; can you pull your pants up so you are not naked; please don't piss in the gutter right next  to someone. I am starting to realize that the boys appear like they want the attention. I am learning slowly that this makes them feel cared and perhaps they are starving for this attention.

The process of songwriting is slow to start. Since we don't have instruments, we only use what is here: bucket lids, wet blankets, pencils, the ground, their bodies and their voices. The boys start to hum. One boy who looks like a boxer, punched in both eyes, starts to drum on a schoolbook, biting his lips. Another starts singing in a voice with an earthy grit that twists and turns you sideways. One boy starts singing an octave higher. The boys get up on their feet. Sounds join together, creating this melody of want. Some of the boys start to dance, closing their eyes, isolating each movement. Their dance is like jazz.  I stand back to watch.

The abundance in here blows my mind. Each boy in this group is crazy talented. Right now,  there is no more smoke from the stove in the courtyard. The sun is not blistering. I'm not worried.  The only thing I feel is this joy coming from the circle of sound.

One of the boys tells me that I should consider Kachere my second home.  They remember my name now.  The sweetness in this place reminds me that no one wants to be forgotten. I wish that everyone who reads this could experience what I am, because it reminds us of the joy of listening.

Dec 25, 2009
Mia K.


  1. Stunning! Thanks for this report, Mia. I can't wait to hear more.

  2. Thanks! =) La musique est un art qui nous permet d'exprimer ses émotions et ce qui est beau. Elle remplit nos coeurs de sa mélodie. Quelque soit la façon dont on la joue ou la manière de l'exprimer, le plus important est qu'elle nous remplisse de joie. Les paroles viennent lentement mais sûrement. j'attends toujours avec impatience ces rapports de tes journées, Mia. Thank you so much.

  3. here in brazil we need more people who belived in those boys. i reaaly know they are amazing.

  4. Thank you for what you've created.
    I deeply wish to be part of this kind of project, and reading your reports gives me hope to be able to do that someday soon; learning what you do strongly pushes me, tells me not to give up on those dreams... it must be possible for any human being to just help others.
    I have just received the book -finally- earlier today can't wait to delve in...
    Just a big true thank you from the bottom of my heart to you Mia, and to all the people working with you:
    for what you do for those who need it the most and for what you do for me (when I need it the most)
    All the best.

  5. aww, its amazing how these guys change whit a simple help. i belive, and how isabela said, here in brazil we need more people who belived.

    i buy the book, but i am waiting come.

  6. I've just donated and I'm spreading the word about your birthday wish campaign.
    You're work there is truly remarkable.

  7. It's really beautiful the work that you are doing. Giving these kids hope that there is goodness in the world. I really like this because it can transcribe into our own communities. A small act of kindness can carry with someone forever. My copy of your book is on it's way, I can't wait to read. Wishing you all the best. Hugs.