The all-female a cappella group Sweet Honey In The Rock began in 1973, a project put together by its founder Bernice Johnson Reagon. The name came from their first song, a parable that told of a land so rich that when the rocks were cracked open, honey flowed.
Combining the full range of the African-American vocal tradition, Sweet Honey’s repertoire incorporates original West African songs that were brought by slaves to the Americas, work songs, congregational spirituals, full-on gospel numbers, blues, jazz, freedom songs from the Civil Rights movement, love songs and rap.
Sweet Honey’s members come from a variety of backgrounds. Founder Bernice Johnson Reagon’s scholarly credentials include her appointment as Curator Emerita at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington DC. She has worked on several award-winning films and documentaries, including the series Eyes On The Prize, We Shall Overcome and Wade In The Water. She received a Presidential Medal in 1995 for her contribution to the humanities and is the author of several books on African-American History.
Over the years the lineup has changed.
Sweet Honey In The Rock (Flying Fish, 1976)
B’lieve I’ll Run On… (Redwood, 1978)
Good News (Flying Fish, 1981)
We All…Everyone Of Us (Flying Fish, 1983)
The Other Side (Flying Fish, 1985)
Breaths (Flying Fish, 1988)
Feel Something Drawing Me On (Flying Fish, 1985)
Live At Carnegie Hall (Flying Fish, 1988)
All For Freedom (Music For Little People, 1989)
In This Land (Earthbeat! 1992)
Still On The Journey (Earthbeat! 1993)
I Got Shoes (Music For Little People, 1994)
Sacred Ground (Earthbeat! 1996)
Selections (Flying Fish/Rounder 1997)
Twenty Five enhanced CD (Rykodisc, 1998)
Freedom Song soundtrack (Sony Classical, 2000)
Still the Same Me (Rounder Kids, 2000)
Alive in Australia (2003)
The Women Gather (Earthbeat, 2003)
Endings and Beginnings (2004)
Raise Your Voice (Earthbeat, 2005)
Are We A Nation? (2010)
A Tribute — Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center (2013)
Silent Night (2014)