Sweet Honey drips with culture

Ensemble will perform twice in Tri-State area

Ensemble will perform twice in Tri-State area

January 17, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Sweet Honey in the Rock will show audiences why they call themselves the "keepers of culture."

Sweet Honey, an a cappella ensemble of African-American women, will perform at Shepherdstown University's Frank Center Theater tonight and will be at H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center in Shippensburg, Pa., on Tuesday.

Founded in Washington D.C. more than three decades ago, Sweet Honey in the Rock has used song to reflect the legacy of black music, said Ysaye M. Barnwell, one of Sweet Honey's vocalists.

"We adopt an African worldview, where music functions as a way of documenting life's activities," Barnwell said. "When (African captives) were brought over to this country, we lost our language, we lost our kinship, but we did not lose that worldview."


The complex history of black music, with its strong ties to social movements, is the reason Sweet Honey's repertoire is so varied, Barnwell said. Their performances include elements of jazz, gospel, blues, rap and hip-hop, spirituals and African chants.

At the Frank Center and at Luhrs, Sweet Honey will also perform songs from the group's latest album, "Experience ... 101," an album aimed at younger listeners.

"We try to reflect a continuum, so that we're not just doing the current thing, but showing how it connects with what has already been," Barnwell said.

Sweet Honey in the Rock was founded in 1973 as part of D.C.'s Black Repertory Theater Company. The group's name comes from Bible verse Psalm 81:16, "He should have fed them also with the finest of wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee."

Listen to Sweet Honey in the Rock's music online at

If you go ...

WHAT: Sweet Honey in the Rock, an a cappella ensemble of African-American women, will perform two concerts in the Tri-State area.

WHEN: 8 p.m. today

WHERE: Frank Center Theater, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W.Va. Shepherd's campus is off W.Va. 480.

COST: $20, general admission; $15, senior citizens; $5 for children.

MORE: The concert is part of the Performing Arts Series at Shepher (PASS). For ticket information, go to

WHEN: 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22

WHERE: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, at Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pa. The campus is at 1871 Old Main Drive, intersection of Bucks and Cumberland Drives.

COST: $12, $18 and $20

MORE: For tickets, call the box office at 717-477-7469 or go to

The Herald-Mail Articles