Soul, Funk, R&B, & Hip-Hop, Blues, Folk, & Country, Rock & Pop, All Ages

Sweet Honey In The Rock

When: Thu., April 22, 8 p.m. and Fri., April 23, 11 a.m. 2010

Gospel groups often sing about endurance, and the willingness to survive. But few do it with as much luster and harmonic complexity as Sweet Honey in the Rock, a five-woman a cappella founded in 1973. (A sixth member interprets the songs in sign language). With a repertoire that combines ancient spirituals with original blues tunes and spoken word -- all reworked and rearranged over time -- the group spans genres, but remains steeped in tradition. Much of its five-part harmonies derive from spirituals and hymns, while its rhythms betray a variety of influences, including Afro-Caribbean music and even a little funk. The tunes in their repertoire vary in scope. Some are "soulful" in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Others are secular, inspired by current events and everyday frustrations.  Some sound like contemporary protest songs. Yet, even without any direct reference to a higher power, the singers of Sweet Honey always manage to convey some kind of deep, spiritual meaning. They'll perform Thursday, April 22 at Zellerbach Hall (LowerSproulPlaza, UC Berkeley Campus). 8 p.m. $26-$60

Rachel Swan

Price: $26-$60, $4 kids for Friday matinee

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