Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vocal Harmonies: Wanting Memories

Sweet Honey in the Rock: Wanting Memories


I am a bit surprised to be the first one to present a singing group for this week’s theme. These groups exist in many traditions throughout the world. Some use instrumental accompaniment, while others rely solely on the various sounds of the human voice. Sweet Honey in the Rock sometimes uses hand percussion, but they mostly rely on the voice alone. The biography on their website uses the pronoun “she” when discussing the group as a whole. This seems stranger if you don’t know their music. Truly, this is the sound of five voices joined as one. Sweet Honey can sing spirituals, hip-hop, jazz, and songs from various African traditions. It always sounds first of all like Sweet Honey in the Rock music. Wanting Memories came out in 1993, when the group was celebrating 20 years of making music together. By then, 21 different singers had been in the group’s line-up at various times, but always joined as one voice. That continues to this day.

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