Founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon, with Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson and Mie, in 1973 at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company, Sweet Honey In The Rock, the 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.
Sweet Honey In The Rock has been a path, a way, a discipline, and a process, as its founder and mainstay Bernice Johnson Reagon wrote in the book We Who Believe in Freedom - Sweet Honey In The Rock Still On The Journey (1993), a chronicle of this extraordinary African-American female vocal group. Indeed, Sweet Honey has been a glorious, evolving process of growth and change throughout its existence.
Now entering her fourth decade, the Grammy® Award-winning ensemble moves forward following Bernice Johnson Reagon’s retirement in February 2004, continuing the legacy begun thirty-one years ago.
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 what we do to one another and to our fellow creatures on this planet.
Sweet Honey's 34th season promises to be as full as the last with the release of their latest CD, Experience...101, on the Appleseed label.