Celebrated A cappella Ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock Returns to Carnegie Hall on Thursday, February 11 at 8:00 PM
Grammy Award-nominated a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock—internationally renowned for seamlessly traversing musical genres through vibrant song, dance, and storytelling—returns to Carnegie Hall on Thursday, February 11 at 8:00 p.m. for a performance in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. The evening features special guest performances by award-winning jazz artists trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard and violinist Regina Carter. This performance marks the ensemble’s 32nd appearance at Carnegie Hall.On the heels of celebrating their 40th anniversary as an ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock will release their 24th album, #LoveInEvolution on January 22 on SHE-ROCKS 5, Inc. / Appleseed Recordings / Entertainment One. Staying true to their signature style of soul, jazz, blues, spirituals, gospel, and African chants, the album is the group’s first studio release in nine years.
The current lineup of vocalists features its core members Louise Robinson, Carol Maillard (both founding members) Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, and Shirley Childress Saxton (American Sign Language Interpreter who has been performing live with the group since 1981). The ensemble will also feature guest musician Romeir Mendez on acoustic upright and electric bass, who has become a regular guest for many of their performances.
About The Artists
Founded in 1973 at the DC Black Repertory Theater Company by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon with Mie Fredericks, Carol Maillard, and Louise Robinson, Sweet Honey In The Rock has been a vital and innovative presence in the music culture of Washington DC and in communities of conscience around the world. The metaphor of sweet honey in the rock (taken from the biblical passage Psalm 81:16 in which King David promises his people that if they are obedient to God they will be fed with “honey out of the rock”) captures completely these African American women whose repertoire is steeped in the sacred music of the Black church, the clarion calls of the civil rights movement, and songs of the struggle for justice everywhere.
With a new album #LoveInEvolution due out this month, Sweet Honey In The Rock endlessly continues to evolve and cultivate the rich textures of African American musical traditions. Sweet Honey In The Rock possesses a stunning vocal prowess that captures the complex sounds of blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, hip hop, ancient lullabies, and jazz improvisation. The group’s collective voice, often accompanied by hand percussion instruments and bass, produces a sound filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms. The ensemble educates, entertains, and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicles of a cappella singing and American Sign Language interpretation.
Terence Blanchard has established himself as one of the most influential jazz musicians and film score masters of his generation, a member of a legacy that has shaped the contours of modern jazz. With more than 30 albums to his credit, Blanchard is a multi-Grammy Award winner and nominee. As a film composer, Blanchard has more than 50 scores to his credit, most recently Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq and Kevin Costner’s Black or White. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. Other film music written by Blanchard includes Kasi Lemmons’s Eve's Bayou, Oprah Winfrey’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tim Story’s Barbershop and George Lucas’s Red Tails. Blanchard also contributed on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog as the musical voice of Louis the Alligator.
As a guest lecturer and artist in residence at the Berklee College of Music, Blanchard works with students in the areas of artistic development, arranging, and composition. Blanchard is also the creative director for jazz concert programming at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He participates in master classes around the world as well as local community outreach activities in his beloved hometown of New Orleans.
Violin virtuoso Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. Winner of a coveted 2006 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship, she is also a Resident Artistic Director at SF JAZZ.
In 1987, she joined the all-female pop-jazz quintet Straight Ahead and appeared on their first three albums before leaving the band in 1991 and moving to New York, where she picked up session work with artists including Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton, Max Roach, and Oliver Lake. She released her self-titled solo album on Atlantic in 1995, followed by Something for Grace, an album dedicated to her mother and released in 1997. Carter also toured with Wynton Marsalis that same year, and then switched to the Verve label where she released Rhythms of the Heart in 1999. Motor City Moments, a tribute to her hometown, followed in 2000, as well as Paganini: After a Dream in 2003 and I’ll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey in 2006. That same year Carter was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, given to a highly select group who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.”
Carter continued her musical quest for beauty and history with her Sony Music Masterworks debut album Southern Comfort (2014). Southern Comfort thematically connected Carter’s earlier albums I’ll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey, which featured her mother’s favorite early jazz standards; and Reverse Thread (2010) which celebrated the tradition of African music re-imagined for violin, accordion, bass, drums and kora. On her latest album she explores the folk tunes her paternal grandfather, a coal miner, would have heard as he toiled in Alabama – and the project expanded to include other folk tunes of the region.
For Regina Carter, the violin isn’t merely an improvisational vehicle. It’s a passport to unexpected realms, a Rosetta stone that unlocks the door to a myriad of cultures and worlds.
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