Sweet Honey in the Rock will be performing on the following dates: Nov. 7 at the Concert Hall of Fine
Arts in Amherst, MA, Nov. 8 at Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, NY, Nov. 9 at the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, PA, Nov.
14 at National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, Nov. 15 at Batte Fine Arts Center in Wingate, NC, Nov. 16 at The Library
Theatre Hoover in Birmingham, AL, Dec. 5 at the Capitol Theatre in Columbus, OH, Dec. 6 at Procter and Gamble Hall in Cincinnati,
OH, Dec. 7 at Annenberg Center-Zellerbach Theatre in Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 8 at Maryland Hall For The Creative Arts in Annapolis,
MD, and Dec. 16 at Carpenter Hall in Richmond, VA.
Q: Which long-running PBS series did the group
perform in extensively?
A: Sweet Honey in the Rock sang in a string of animated counting cartoons on the long-running
PBS series Sesame Street.
Come see twenty African-American singers take the stage with
their spellbinding vocals and swooning stage presence. Sweet Honey in the Rock is an awe-inspiring ensemble that takes on
the African congregational choral style. These ladies are known for singing about love, struggle, and heartbreak. Bernice
Johnson Reagon, the group's frontwoman, started recording socially conscious songs in the early 1960s and has been going strong
Sweet Honey in the Rock is an all-female, African-American a cappella group of singers.
They have won and been nominated for several Grammy Awards. They have made a name for themselves describing their history
as women of color through songs, dance routines, and sign language. Initially a four-piece ensemble, the troupe has expanded
to five-part harmonies, with a sixth member serving as a sign-language interpreter. Although the lineup of the ensemble has
changed over the last 30 years, they continue to sing and have helped to produce a string of children's albums in addition
to those intended for adults.
Bernice Johnson Reagon founded Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1973, while she was teaching
a vocal workshop with the Washington, D.C. Black Repertory Company. Reagon retired from the company in 2004. The group got
its name from a song, based on Psalm 81:16, which tells the story of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open, an
abundance of honey came out of them. Johnson has said that this first song in which four women harmonized was so powerful
that the group did not have much trouble deciding on a name. The troupe's most powerful messages are expressed through an
extensive repertoire of songs addressing the world's problems. Their lyrics in recent years have been about the injustices
of immigration, congressional greed and lack of compassion for hurting citizens, the imbalance of the environment, race relations,
and feminist issues.
Sweet Honey in the Rock has been making music for over three decades. Although the group's lineup
has changed over the years, their music has consistently blended contemporary rhythms and narratives with spirituals and hymns
of the African-American Church. The ensemble performs challenging five-part harmonies and writes the majority of their own
music. The topics they sing about include motherhood, spirituality, freedom, civil rights, domestic violence, immigration
issues, and racism.
Over the years, more than 20 singers have lent their vocals to Sweet Honey in the Rock. Originally
a quartet, the group is currently comprised of six African-American women (including a professional American Sign Language
interpreter who travels with the group on concert tours).
The lineup of Sweet Honey in the Rock currently consists of:
Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, Louise Robinson (an original ensemble member), Carol Lynn Maillard (an original ensemble
member), and Shirley Childress Saxton (sign language interpreter).
The troupe's previous group members have included:
Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Bernice Johnson Reagon (founder), Mie, Dianaruthe Wharton, Evelyn Maria Harris, Rosie Lee Hooks, Ayodele
Harrington, Ingrid Ellis, Tia Juana Starks, Patricia Johnson, Yasmeen Williams, Laura Sharp, Tulani Jordan Kinard, Helena
Coleman, Geraldine Hardin, and Akua Opokuwaa.
On June 22, 2010, Sweet Honey put out the song "Are We A Nation?," as
a reaction to Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB-1070. An official music video of the song surfaced online on July
2, 2010. With direction by James Lester, the video was shot in New York City at Tainted Blue Recording Studio. Amanda Navarro
gathered and provided the video's archival images, while Russel Soder served as the cinematographer. Ramon Hervey II was hired
as the project's executive producer. The troupe gave a portion of the proceeds from the sales of "Are We A Nation?" to The
Center for Community Change, an organization founded in 1968 to honor the life of Robert F. Kennedy, with the purpose of helping
Sweet Honey in the Rock was nominated for a Grammy Award for their
children's album, Still the Same Me, which garnered the Silver Award from the National Association of Parenting Publications.
They received a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for their rendition of Lead Belly's "Grey Goose" off the compilation
album Folkways: A Vision Shared.