Review: Sweet Honey in the Rock Shines

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Monday December 14, 2015

From The Inquirer

Review: Sweet Honey in the Rock Shines
By: A.D. Amorosi

In a period when a cappella is celebrated – platinum-selling Pentatonix, hit films in the Pitch Perfect series – it’s the moment for Sweet Honey in the Rock. For 40-plus years, Louise Robinson and Carol Maillard (both founding members), and Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, and Shirley Childress (an American Sign Language interpreter who has performed live since 1981) have displayed the gorgeous tones and textures of blues, gospel, and jazz as well as the traditions of their African heritage, sans instrumentation.

The only thing more intricate than their rhythms is their gorgeously complex harmonies, all heartily on hand at Annenberg’s Zellerbach Theatre on Saturday, with a “Honeyman” – bassist Romeir Mendez – bringing an impressionistic groove to a few cuts.

Though masquerading as a holiday show – the night started with individual members strolling on stage, each clipping a line from her favorite Christmas song before launching into a percolating “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child” – the gig was a plea for peace and prayer for every season.

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