Sweet Honey In The Rock
Sweet Honey In The Rock
Founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon in 1973 at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company, Sweet Honey In The Rock®, internationally renowned a cappella ensemble, has been a vital and innovative presence in the music culture of Washington, D.C., and in communities of conscience around the world.
From Psalm 81:16 comes the promise to a people of being fed by honey out of the rock. Honey – an ancient substance, sweet and nurturing. Rock – an elemental strength, enduring the winds of time. The metaphor of sweet honey in the rock captures completely these African American women whose repertoire is steeped in the sacred music of the Black church, the clarion calls of the civil rights movement, and songs of the struggle for justice everywhere.Rooted in a deeply held commitment to create music out of the rich textures of African American legacy and traditions, Sweet Honey In The Rock possesses a stunning vocal prowess that captures the complex sounds of Blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, Hip Hop, ancient lullabies, and jazz improvisation. Sweet Honey’s collective voice, occasionally accompanied by hand percussion instruments, produces a sound filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms.In the best and in the hardest of times, Sweet Honey In The Rock has come in song to communities across the U.S., and around the world raising her voice in hope, love, justice, peace, and resistance. Sweet Honey invites her audiences to open their minds and hearts and think about who we are and how we treat each other, our fellow creatures who share this planet, and of course, the planet itself.Following up on their 2008 Grammy-nominated release, Experience…101, Sweet Honey returned to the studio to record Go In Grace, original music composed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Together these two artistic treasures of the African American experience performed this once-in-a-lifetime collaboration throughout the United States during the 2008-09 season.Equally thrilling was the invitation received from First Lady Michelle Obama in February of 2009 to perform at the White House in celebration of African-American History Month. As the Associated Press reported, “foot-stomping music filled the East Room…” as Sweet Honey sang for 6th and 7th graders from around the city.Sweet Honey In The Rock is Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, and Shirley Childress Saxton.
I have always believed art is the conscience of the human soul and that artists have the responsibility not only to show life as it is but to show life as it should be. … Sweet Honey In The Rock has withstood the onslaught. She has been unprovoked by the 30 pieces of silver. Her songs lead us to the well of truth that nourishes the will and courage to stand strong. She is the keeper of the flame.
— Harry Belafonte (Aug 4, 2011)