During her 2016 trip to Cuba, Cab’s daughter Cabella was blown away by a performance by Vocal Clave de Sol, a local group of young guitarists. Upon learning about the group’s important role in helping these children learn through their interests and appreciate music and culture, Cabella knew the Cab Calloway Foundation would be eager to support them.
Founded by sisters Nuria and Yamilé García in 2009, Vocal Clave de Sol is an after-school program in Havana that aims to help children develop their instrumental and vocal abilities through its three guiding principles: inclusion, instruction, and community. It provides a safe haven for local youth that fosters both a sense of self-esteem and an appreciation for the history and culture of Cuba.
In 2019, the CCF organized and funded the group’s tour of the US East Coast. Performing all along the way, they started at Blair Academy in New Jersey and then made an exciting stop at the Martin Guitar Factory in Pennsylvania. There they were invited to construct a Cuban Tres guitar with pieces from lead designer Dick Boak and left with six new guitars in hand. They then traveled to Delaware to perform at the Firefly Festival and to Pennsylvania again for a private fundraising event. The tour culminated with a performance at Drom in New York City.
The tour was a resounding success. Supplying the group with more guitars was of upmost importance, as accessibility to instruments can be an obstacle for Cuban students who take an interest in music. [It was also an incredible chance to foster cultural awareness and ethnic diversity.] Currently, the CCF is hoping to expand the travel opportunities for Vocal Clave de Sol students through an exchange program with the Red Clay Consolidated School district in Delaware.