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Sweet Honey in the Rock

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

World music


Most recent release, #LoveInEvolution (2016)

See also:

Sweet Honey in the Rock's site

Wikipedia's entry for Sweet Honey in the Rock

CD Baby's Sweet Honey in the Rock page


They were the first to pioneer and popularize this kind of music

Covers/own material:

Covers and own

General comments:

They are a wonderful all-woman a capella group whose influences come from American folk and spirituals, gospel, and African music. The best of their discs I have are Breaths and Live at Carnegie Hall. They also have some great songs on the Folkways: A Vision Shared disc. It's amazing all the different things those women can do with their voices. (neal)

Sweet Honey in the Rock is an all-woman African-American a cappella ensemble that has been performing since 1973. Their members have changed over the years but their gospel-based sound remains distinctive. Their music is overtly political, and songs are often inspired by current political situations. Their vocal style remains captivating. (

Comments about live performance:

Sweet Honey were *incredible*. If Zap Mama doesn't count them as their main influence, that has to be the greatest case of synchronicity in the history of music. They don't do the choreography that Zap Mama does (in fact, they sit mostly the entire time they're on stage), but they have the African percussion instruments and they do all the vocal tricks. They are also very big into audience participation—for the first song, they had the crowd split up into four parts doing an African chant, and it was mesmerizing. By the end of their show, there were at least 100 people dancing up a storm in front, and the entire crowd was on its feet clapping and singing along. Everybody forgot by that part that they were freezing. It was a great privilege to get to see them perform. (c. 2000,

Recommended first album:



  • Sweet Honey in the Rock (1976)
  • B'lieve I'll Run On (1978)
  • Good News (1981)
  • We All...Everyone Of Us (1983)
  • The Other Side (1985)
  • Feel Something Drawing Me On (1985)
  • Breaths (compilation, 1988)
  • Live At Carnegie Hall (live, 1988)
  • Feel Something Drawn Me On (1989)
  • All For Freedom (children's, 1989)
  • In This Land (1992)
  • Still On The Journey (1993)
  • I Got Shoes (children's, 1994)
  • Sacred Ground (1996)
  • Selections 1976–1988 (2-CD compilation, 1997)
  • ...Twenty Five... (1998)
  • Still The Same Me (children's, 2000)
  • Freedom Song (2000)
  • The Women Gather (2003)
  • Alive in Australia (live, 2003)
  • Endings and Beginnings (2004)
  • Raise Your Voice (children's, 2005)
  • Experience... 101 (children's, 2007)
  • Go in Grace (2008)
  • Are We A Nation? (2010)
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock: A Tribute—Live Jazz at Lincoln Center (2013)
  • #LoveInEvolution (2016)

Sweet Honey in the Rock: A Tribute—Live Jazz at Lincoln Center

Release info:

2013—Appleseed Recordings



Ecto priority:


Group members:

Ysaye Barnwell, Aisha Kahlil, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Carol Maillard—vocals

Guest artists:

Shirley Childress—sign langague interpreter
Stacey Wade—musical director, piano, keyboards
Parker McAllister—upright bass, electric bass
Jovol Bell—drums, percussion


A two-disc set of a performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock with a jazz trio. Absolutely gorgeous vocal harmonies (of course), and delightful to hear them do tracks like "Trouble in Mind" and the well-covered "Wild is the Wind." Everyone is clearly having a terrific time, and that feeling is contagious. The political tracks are powerful and effective. A delightful recording. (


Release info:

2016—Appleseed Recordings—APR CD 1140 / SR5CD 004



Ecto priority:


Group members:

Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Bolade Casel—vocals, percussion, handclaps

Guest artists:

Romeir Antonio Mendez—acoustic bass (1, 4, 6-10, 12)
Kristen Arant—percussion solo (13)


This group is as earnest, soulful and viviacious as ever. Such wonderful empathy, spirit and energy! (

Further info:

Sweet Honey in the Rock has three DVDs: Raise Your Voice (2005), Singing for Freedom, and Continuum Song Book

They contribute to the following compilations:

  • cELLAbration! A tribute to Ella Jenkins
  • Hand in Hand: Songs for Parenthood
  • Lullaby: A Collection
  • Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro
  • Shout Sister Shout! A tribute to Sister Rosette Tharpe
  • Creole Cred: A Tribute to Creole and Zydeco
  • Folkways: A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly
  • Where We Live: Stand for What You Stand On: A Benefit CD for EarthJustice
  • Give US Your Poor: Help End Homelessness

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Entry last updated 2017-06-04 18:09:08.
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