Kyshona brings her healing magic to lena’s stage
Kyshona Armstrong is living proof that music heals, and on August 20th, she brought her audio medicine to Caffe Lena.
As a volunteer there, I have the perk of being in the Caffe before the show begins. I get to see things through from open to close. When I walked in, Kyshona greeted me with a warm ‘hello’, her voice a bright note of sunshine in the still room. Then she began to sing for her soundcheck, and I was floored by the power and resonance. She went from a warm, quiet welcome to a force of pure glorious sound in the time it took me to walk up the stairs. I knew then and there that I was a Kyshona convert.
She had no backup musicians, only herself and an acoustic guitar. There’s something empowering about an artist who has the confidence to go out with just their songs and stories. She knew that she is indeed enough to wrap an audience around her finger and get them to join her in song.
That’s right. Kyshona didn’t need backup singers because she encouraged us to sing with her. Together, we filled the room with our voices. Caffe Lena became a safe and intimate space for us to uplift one another.
Kyshona isn’t only a singer, but also a talented storyteller. With a background in music therapy, she told us about how she worked with prisoners at Rikers and the lessons she learned from them. From the women, she learned to focus on joy when it was there before you. From the young men, she learned that it was never too late to plant a seed of hope. Through music, she was able to momentarily heal them, to give them something beyond the walls of a prison cell.
With her therapy background, it is no surprise that Kyshona has recently begun a successful program where she helps others who have had struggles or are still struggling. Together, they collaborate so they can write their own songs. Currently, it can be found at https://www.kyshona.com/yoursong. The program involves two sessions, one in which you brainstorm and write together, and one in which the music happens. She performed some of the songs written by people she has worked with, and I can only imagine the relief she must have provided for these clients. She gives them a gift. She lends them her voice, and she helps them heal. To call her powerful doesn’t even begin to describe her.
I don’t even know if she understands how magical her presence is. Last night, after we had closed down and I was walking back to my car, I felt lighter. I felt a sense of goodwill towards everyone I had the pleasure of meeting last night. She had done me more good in those two hours than I could ever repay her for.
To watch the show, you can watch the recording below.