SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK®
Swasey Chapel 7:00 pm
Challenge and change are the themes underlying the 40-year career of the revered female African-American a cappella ensemble, SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK®. In the course of creating its adventurous and diverse mixture of blues, African, jazz, gospel and R&B music, with excursions into symphonic and dance theater, the ever-growing list of SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK’s musical and activist achievements since its creation is beyond stunning.
ABOUT THE GUEST ARTIST
Challenge and change are the themes underlying the 40-year career of the revered female African-American a cappella ensemble, SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK®. In the course of creating its adventurous and diverse mixture of blues, African, jazz, gospel and R&B music, with excursions into symphonic and dance theater, 23 vocalists have passed through the group, formed as a quartet in 1973 at a workshop at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company in Washington by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon.
The ever-growing list of SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK®’s musical and activist achievements since its creation is beyond stunning. The ladies have performed in Nairobi and Beijing at the U.N. World Conference on Women, toured the UK, Japan, Africa, Australia and various European locations, been the subject of two PBS documentaries “Gotta Make This Journey” and “SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK: Raise Your Voice,” recorded film soundtracks, received Grammy nominations for several of their albums for children, and shared a Grammy Award for their participation in the multi-artist record “Folkways: A Vision Shared – A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly.” They again honored Guthrie in a Centennial Celebration of his birthday presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington in November 2012. The group appeared in a 1986 PBS special, “The Dream and the Drum,” on the first national observance of Martin Luther King Day and in early 2012 performed at the unveiling ceremonies for the monument for Dr. King on the National Mall. The same year, SWEET HONEY also debuted their first ever orchestral collaboration, providing the lyrics for composer William Banfield’s “Symphony 10: Affirmations for a New World,” co-commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They also released a thought-provoking single and video, “Are We a Nation,” inspired by the controversial immigration law that was enacted in Arizona . The song captured a Gold Songwriter Award from the 27th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and was featured on an all-star compilation, “Bordersongs,” that raised money for the No More Deaths organization, which provides water and humanitarian aid along the Arizona/Mexico border. Their latest 2-CD set, “A Tribute – Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center,” (SHE ROCKS 5/Appleseed Recordings) pays homage to some of the great female African-American vocalists whose songs helped shape the group, including Abbey Lincoln, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, and Nina Simone.