Sweet Honey In The Rock will bring their world renowned a capella musical prowess to the Twin Cities 2008-2009. Founded in 1973 by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company, The Sweet Honey In The Rock experience is like no other. Their soul-stirring, thought-provoking music, dynamic onstage interaction between group members and exuberant exchanges with audiences, the all-female collective is a force of nature that has thrilled masses globally.
The sextet is comprised of Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, and Shirley Childress Saxton*. These African American women join their powerful voices, along with hand percussion instruments, to create a blend of lyrics, movement and narrative that point the finger at injustice, encourage activism, and sing the praises of love. The music speaks out against oppression and exploitation of every kind. The sextet, whose words are simultaneously interpreted in uniquely expressive American Sign Language, demands a just and humane world for all.
*Shirley Childress Saxton is a veteran professional Sign Language interpreter, having learned American Sign Language from her deaf parents. In their honor, she founded the Herbert and Thomasina Childress Scholarship Fund to assist other Children of Deaf Adults (C.O.D.A.) to explore sign interpreting as a career option. Saxton began working as Sign Language interpreter for Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1980.
So what's in a name -- this peculiar name of Sweet Honey In The Rock?
Today's history lesson:
"From Psalm 81:16 comes the promise to a people of being fed by honey from 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 as well as jazz, blues, and Hip Hop, the clarion calls of the civil rights movement, and songs of the struggle for justice everywhere."
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