Folk singer Rhiannon Giddens chose to debut her new album this week in an unexpected, beautiful and socially conscious way: by Singing at Sing Sing. It happened through Carnegie Hall's Musical Connections program, which seeks to bring musicians and musical education into the lives of those incarcerated there. Participating inmates learn to play instruments and compose, in addition to the opportunity to enjoy the concerts.
Rhiannon, who last year became the first female winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, said she had been inspired by attending a concert at Sing Sing last May and that some of the songs on the album had born from that original visit.
This time she came back to lead an afternoon workshop before giving an evening concert that included an inmate coming up on stage with the band to perform an original song he wrote. Rhiannon's album, "Freedom Highway," is available now.
Read the full New York Times article here.