Black History Storytelling: Sweet Honey in the Rock

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

On this weekend's Choral Mix, we explore musical storytelling through the voices of Sweet Honey in the Rock.  The female a cappella group is in its 39th year of celebrating its legacy as narrators of the African-American experience. The members are known for their traditional gospel and spiritual works, as well as winning several Grammy Awards.

Their voices have dazzled and educated audiences for decades.  Hearing them can change the way you think about music.  They engage the heart of the listener and excel at conveying their message through song in five-part harmony.

Sweet Honey in the Rock have also been at the forefront of new musical developments.  You'll hear about a fascinating new piece one of their members, Ysaye Barnwell, is currently involved in. It's a commissioned oratorio called Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem.  This Requiem by Dr. Barnwell is devoted to laying the spirit of a former slave, and those he represents, to rest.  It serves as a way to seek healing and understanding for the interracial hurts we have experienced as a people.  The oratorio is written for full orchestra, gospel choir, children's choir, and chorus of African bells. A real tour de force which premieres at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland College Park on Saturday, February 25.

You will also hear various selections from Sweet Honey in the Rock's Live from Carnegie Hall album, as well as selections from their album dedicated to children: Experience 101.



All songs sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock

Still On The Journey/EarthBeat
In the morning when I rise     

Live at Carnegie Hall/Flying Fish
Wade in the Water     

Experience 101/Appleseed Records
Indaba: We Believe in You           
Chinese Proverb         
Do what the Spirit Say Do       

The Women Gather/EarthBeat
The Women Gather   
Ballad of the Sit ins      
Ballad of Harry T. Moore

Live at Carnegie Hall/Flying Fish
Letter to Dr. Martin Luther King

Still On The Journey/EarthBeat
Sojourner's Battle Hymn   

Freedom Song (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
with James Horner & Sweet Honey in the Rock/SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
This Little Light of Mine  


Comments [4]


It's so great that your show streams online after the initial broadcast, since life so often intervenes. I was only able to catch part of this week's show on Sunday, but have now heard the entire hour. Featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock was such a fitting tribute to Black History Month. We were honored to have their founder, Bernice Johnson Reagon, as our Commencement speaker at Barnard a few years back, as well as presenting her with the Barnard Medal, our version of an honorary degree. She is just as inspirational as a speaker as a singer -- and yes, she did treat us to some singing, too! Thanks for this rolicking edition of The Choral Mix, Kent!

Feb. 27 2012 11:25 AM
Marcia Miller from NYC

This morning's program was a glorious and moving way to begin the day. Though some might not consider this set as "classical," it is primal American music--artful illuminations of heart and soul--that lifts us all. I I was especially touched by the songs for children--and hadn't even known that Sweet Honey had released an album for young people. Thank you, Kent!

Feb. 26 2012 10:27 AM
Savona Bailey-McClain

Loved the program it was great Thank you!

Savona from West Harlem

Feb. 26 2012 08:10 AM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan NYC

Listening to Sweet Honey in the Rock's slow, powerful "Wade In The Water" as the sun comes up over Central Park will carry me through my Sunday. Nothing to say but "Thank you."

Feb. 26 2012 07:14 AM

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