Award-Winning A Cappella Group To Perform At Kean

Sweet Honey In The Rock ® (Photo Credit: Stephen Neilson)

HILLSIDE — Gene & Shelley Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University will host American Grammy Award-winning and internationally renowned African-American vocal ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. This all-woman troupe captures a wide range of musical genres including blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, raggae, African chants, Hip Hop, ancient lullabies and jazz improvisation.

Sweet Honey In The Rock is one of the most celebrated international ambassadors of a cappella music. The troupe expresses their history as women of color through song, while entertaining their audience, offering added interpretation through the use of American Sign Language. They have together worked from four women to the difficult five-part harmony with a sixth member translating the sign language. Although the members have changed over three decades, they continue to sing and have helped to produce several children’s records as well as those intended for adults.

Sweet Honey In The Rock was founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon who founded the group out of singers from a vocal workshop she was teaching with the Washington, D.C. Black Repertory Company. Reagon retired from the group in 2004. The name of the group was derived from a song, based on Psalm 81:16, which tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open, honey flowed from them. Johnson has said that this first song in which four women blended their voices was so powerful, that there was no question what the name of the group should be. The members are Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson and Shirley Childress Saxton (Sign Language Interpreter).

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 Award 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.

Tickets to Sweet Honey In The Rock at Enlow Hall are $35 and can be purchased by calling Kean Stage Box Office at 1-908-737-7469, online at , or in person at Kean University’s Wilkins Theater Box Office located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union. Enlow Recital Hall is located on Kean University’s East Campus at 215 North Avenue, Hillside.

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