al stewart

Sweet Honey in the Rock

beach full of shells

Sweet Honey in the Rock


“I can see the children dancing and singing and laughing when they hear Experience …101. I can see the parents patting their feet and thanking the Creator for creating Sweet Honey in the Rock and Experience…101.”
Maya Angelou

“This is as life-affirming as music gets. These seven earth goddesses deliver simple melodies with a kitten-soft touch of kindness and joy. . . . the lessons within are truly lovely and ultimately worthy of anyone's appreciation.”
Now Magazine, Toronto, Canada

“On Experience...101 Sweet Honey in the Rock bring their vocal prowess to bear on children’s music, delivering an ambitious program of original and occasionally older songs. With intertwining voices, multi-part arrangements, and rhythmic underpinning, songs like ‘4 U 2 Know as U Grow’ and ‘Education Is the Key’ are really catchy. . . . young listeners or liberal-minded adults . . . will find, respectively, the intoxicating soundscape and politically correct lyrics on Experience...101 easy to like.”
– Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide

“Rare is the musical ensemble that can survive the departure of its founder and longtime leader, but Washington’s Sweet Honey in the Rock seems to have weathered the 2004 retirement of Bernice Johnson Reagon in fine form. The group’s first recording without Reagon, Experience . . . 101, is a children’s music album, but the vocal harmonies by the six women are just as intricate and precise as ever. If there has been a subtle shift in emphasis from gospel to jazz, that's merely a welcome sign that the sextet is continuing to evolve. . . . The tone is always encouraging, never hectoring. The group members wrote 14 of the 17 songs, and their compositions are unfailingly melodic. Accompanied only by the rippling rhythms of restrained hand percussion, the women’s voices braid the tunes into sophisticated harmonies that should please parents as much as kids.”              
– Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post

“Though there’s long been an educational component within the socially conscious music of Sweet Honey in the Rock, this release . . . has the ebullience to capture the ears of young and old alike. Most of the performances are either a cappella (sometimes with handclaps) or with percolating African percussion, as the harmonies and call-and-response arrangements reinforce the joys of learning. From the life’s lessons of ‘4 U 2 Know as U Grow’ through the traditional spiritual of ‘Do What the Spirit Say Do’ and the poetry of ‘Chinese Proverb,’ the music aims to delight rather than preach. The soulful transcendence of ‘Right Now’ sounds closer to a female version of Earth Wind & Fire than to Sesame Street, while the message of self-empowerment has rarely sounded as sweet as it does on ‘All I Have to Do.’”
– Don McLeese, Editorial Review

“. . . A lyrical trove of lessons. The album features 18 harmonious tracks that speak directly to young people about the importance of education, respecting others, expressing gratitude, having positive self-esteem and nurturing resources, among other things. . . . Many of the songs have melodic chants and repetitious choruses that will easily appeal to kids. One listen to ‘Education Is Key,’ and the affirming ‘Education, gonna get my education’ chant will likely stay in your head most of the day.”
– Tracy L. Brown, Dallas Morning News

“This sensational female African-American ensemble uses their signature a cappella style to perform 18 original songs utilizing folk, gospel, jazz, blues, and rap. Tight harmonies with parts weaving in and out characterize the group’s musical style. . . . The songs focus on things that are important to children as they are growing up education, an appreciation of nature, learning kindness and gratitude, being a part of the community, and more. . . . this excellent album belongs in every library’s music collection.” 
– Beverly Vixler, School Library Journal

“Sweet Honey in the Rock – the historic pioneers and caretakers of the rich tradition of Black music – have done it again. This grand CD exemplifies their artistic genius and educational commitment to the freedom of us all.”
Dr. Cornel West (author, professor of African American Studies, Princeton University)