Sweet Honey In The Rock to Play Landmark on Main Street, 10/12
Landmark on Main Street will present Sweet Honey In The Rock on Saturday, October 12 at 8 PM as part of the 2013-14 Opening Weekend.
Challenge and change are the themes underlying the revered female African-American a cappella ensemble, SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, now celebrating their 40th anniversary season. Their unique sound is best described as an adventurous and diverse mixture of blues, African, jazz, gospel and R&B music. Their founders, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, and Mie drew their name from the first song they learned, "Sweet Honey in the Rock," based on a Biblical psalm. "Sweet Honey speaks of a land that is so rich when you break the rocks open, honey flows. And we thought it was something like us African-American women . . . strong like a rock, but inside [there's] honey - sweet," explains Robinson.
With political and social activism as much a cornerstone of its objective as vocally painting a multi-genre rainbow of music with an a cappella (aside from its members' hand percussion) approach that is part of its African American legacy, SWEET HONEY began performing in 1974 and was soon performing various festivals in the US and Canada, including the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife at the National Mall in Washington. After the 1976 release of its first album, eponymously titled, the group expanded its touring, which included appearances at the 1979 Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts inNew York City that became the "No Nukes" concert film and album. In the summer of 2011, SWEET HONEY and other MUSE musicians (Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills & Nash, et al) performed a benefit concert for disaster relief efforts in Japan.
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.