Sweet Honey in the Rock Biography
Sweet Honey in the Rock is an all-woman, African American a cappella ensemble that has been producing music for more than 30 years. Although the members of the group have changed over time, the music of Sweet Honey in the Rock has consistently combined contemporary rhythms and narratives with a musical style rooted in the gospel music, spirituals and hymns of the Black church.
Sweet Honey in the Rock was founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon who formed the group out of the strongest singers from a vocal workshop she was teaching with the D.C. Black Repertory Company. The name of the group comes from a religious parable that tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open, honey flowed from them.
The music of Sweet Honey in the Rock challenges its listeners with songs on topics including motherhood, spirituality, freedom, civil liberties, domestic violence, and racism.
Over the years, more than 20 individuals have lent their voices to Sweet Honey in the Rock. Beginning as a quartet, Sweet Honey in the Rock is now comprised of six African American women (including a professional American Sign Language interpreter who accompanies the group on concert tours). The ensemble tackles difficult five-part harmonies and composes much of their own music.
Sweet Honey in the Rock has received several Grammy Award nominations, including one for their children's album Still the Same Me which received the Silver Award from the National Association of Parenting Publications. They won a Grammy in 1989 in the category of Best Traditional Folk Recording for their version of Leadbelly's "Grey Goose" from the compilation album Folkways: A Vision Shared.