Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet Honey in the Rock!

Last night we saw "Sweet Honey in the Rock" for the second time, and it was as memorable as the last time (at least 10 years ago!). The tickets were my present to Mike for his birthday. Sweet Honey in the rock is an acapella group of African-American women who have been performing since 1973. Their founding mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, has since retired from performing. Over the years, their members have changed, but their style has endured. They tell stories through their music and send chills up their listeners' spines. It's easy to forget that the only instruments they use are percussion--they are that skilled with their voices.

An earlier photo of Sweet Honey in the Rock

Current members of Sweet Honey in the Rock
This PBS article gives some background about the group's origins. 

The group performing at the White House
"Do What the Spirit Say" was one of my favorite songs they performed last night, although it's very difficult to single out one. You can view the group singing that song at this link. The beautiful gray-haired woman singing the lead is Ysaye Maria Barnwell, who I learned has a Ph.D. in cranio-facial studies and a post-doctorate in public health. (In her spare time???) These beautiful, elegant, and colorfully attired women talk about how important it is for each of us to recognize our own beauty and express ourselves.

In between their inspiring songs, the various members of the group exhorted the audience members to sing (they included us in a lot of singalongs), experience God in the breath we breathe, and write to our elected officials and remind them what we expect of them...and if they don't deliver, we can vote them out!

I really cannot sing their praises highly enough. We saw a number of friends at the concert--two from church and one former coworker of mine. One of them, Amy, told us that she has seen Sweet Honey six times--nearly every time they come to Portland.

I'll leave  you with one of my favorite songs by this incredibly talented group of women:

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