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Black History Storytelling: SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK

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Monday February 27, 2012

From WQXR

Black History Storytelling: Sweet Honey In The Rock

On this weekend’s Choral Mix, we explore musical storytelling through the voices of Sweet Honey in the Rock. The female a cappella group is in its 39th year of celebrating its legacy as narrators of the African-American experience. The members are known for their traditional gospel and spiritual works, as well as winning several Grammy Awards.

Their voices have dazzled and educated audiences for decades. Hearing them can change the way you think about music. They engage the heart of the listener and excel at conveying their message through song in five-part harmony.

Sweet Honey in the Rock have also been at the forefront of new musical developments. You’ll hear about a fascinating new piece one of their members, Ysaye Barnwell, is currently involved in. It’s a commissioned oratorio called Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem. This Requiem by Dr. Barnwell is devoted to laying the spirit of a former slave, and those he represents, to rest. It serves as a way to seek healing and understanding for the interracial hurts we have experienced as a people. The oratorio is written for full orchestra, gospel choir, children’s choir, and chorus of African bells. A real tour de force which premieres at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland College Park on Saturday, February 25.

You will also hear various selections from Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Live from Carnegie Hall album, as well as selections from their album dedicated to children: Experience 101.

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