Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Sweetness of Honey

For an uptight, white semi-Protestant, who has such an eclectic view of religion that she doens't have a name for it, I have an amazing affinity for gospel music sung by black women with big voices. Really, I have an affinity for all music as long as it's well done. And one thing that the members of Sweet Honey in the Rock do brilliantly is sing. Each one of these women has an amazing voice in her own right. I would be thrilled to hear any one of them sing live, but when you put them together, the result is such a beautiful tapestry of harmony and rhythm it dances into the sublime.

Tonight I had the unmitigated pleasure of hearing them perform at the Dolores Winningstand Theatre. It is an evening I will remember for a long time to come. The thing I love so much about these women is they way interweave music with social and civil rights issues. Their music is not a lullaby but a call to awaken. They use music to honor where we have been and to push us into thinking about where we want to go as a society and as a culture. In doing so, they take something that would be beautiful as art on is own and make it into something important, something that that inspires people to shape the world into a kinder, gentler, more loving, more beautiful place. I can't think of a more apt way to introduce them than the Brecht* quote that was used to introduce them tonight: "Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."

I've seen them perform before, and it was amazing, but to see them in such an intimate venue was a real treat and the perfect way to start of a month of celebrating all the things that make life sweet as the Christmas holidays draw near. Nights like tonight really do make my heart happy.

(*Note: I've also seen this quote attributed to Karl Marx on the net, but, of course, no one ever cites where it came from. If the internet were a research writing course, it would not get high marks for accurate footnotes!)

1 comment:

Jen said...

I love that Brecht/Marx quote and your writeup of this show.