Sweet Honey In The Rock is an internationally renowned, Grammy Award-winning female a cappella sextet that stretches deep roots into the sacred music of the black church – spirituals, hymns, gospel- as well as into jazz and blues, reggae, rap, hip hop, ancient lullabies, and African chants. Sweet Honey’s collective voice, occasionally accompanied by hand percussion instruments, produces a sound filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms. Evoking all the rich textures of African American legacy and traditions in transcendent vocal harmonies, the group will perform in concert at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 7, at 8 PM. MASS MoCA’s galleries will be open until 7:30 PM before the show for those wishing to see the art on display before the performance.
The New York Times says: “Like the gospel music it draws on, Sweet Honey In The Rock delivers messages with luminous, virtuosic singing, and the…women’s voices blend and soar in a spectrum of styles few other ensembles could match.” Other accolades: “Consisting of singers who complement one another perfectly and completely, Sweet Honey is a harmonic machine that exceeds the sum of its parts. At their best, the singers create a sonic tapestry of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic threads woven together with precision, if little nuance. But Sweet Honey isn’t so much about nuance as it is about throwing everything out onto the stage and seeing what works.”
Founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon in 1973 (with Mie, Carol Maillard, and Louise Robinson) at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company, Sweet Honey has been a vital and innovative presence in the music culture of Washington, D.C., and in communities of conscience around the world. During both the best and the hardest of times, Sweet Honey has come in song to communities across the nation 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 how we treat each other, our fellow creatures who share this planet, and of course, the planet itself.
Sweet Honey’s 20th CD release, Experience…101 was a 2008 Grammy Award nominee. The excitement continued as Sweet Honey was asked to compose new material in celebration of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s 50th anniversary. Together, these two artistic treasures of the African American experience performed this once-in-a-lifetime collaboration throughout the United States. The music for the collaboration was released on a CD entitled Go in Grae. In 2009, Sweet Honey was honored to accept an invitation from President and Mrs. Barack Obama to give a concert at the White House on Feb. 18, 2009. 2010 saw the release of a single CD and video in response to Arizona Law SB-1070, and the creation of a Tribute Concert – Remembering Nina, Odetta and Miriam Makeba.
Sweet Honey In The Rock members are Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, and Shirley Childress Saxton (Sign Language interpreter).
This performance will be interpreted for the deaf and hearing impaired. Designated seats are available for deaf and hearing impaired patrons and should be requested from the Box Office when tickets are ordered.
Tickets for Sweet Honey in the Rock are $39 for priority seating, $29 in advance, $34 on the day of the show. Tickets for children under 16 are $15. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 AM until 5 PM (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.