Sweet Honey rocks Spaulding

by Holly Shaffer | 4/28/03 5:00am

Names can imply passion, and Sweet Honey and the Rock, who fired up Spaulding on Friday night, do sing like the sweetest of honey. A group of five women with a great vocal range, they were accompanied by Toshi Reagan and Big Lovely on guitars and drums.

Having sung together for 30 years, Sweet Honey mixes spirituals, hymns, traditional gospel, blues, jazz and hip-hop in an all-encompassing educational force politically charg-ed with their liberal message.

They are anti-oppression in all forms -- racial, sexual and spiritual -- while proposing a community to support, think and work for the wonderful things in the world like peace, justice and love.

Some songs spurred thought, like "Crying for Freedom!" which went through the Constitution. Others encouraged communal mourning, as in "Nature Song," which seemed to weep with sorrow.

The music is clearly a documentary of the women's own struggles, relationships, happinesses, and through sharing their voices, those experiences become the listener's as well.

Cross-generational, vibrant and principled, Sweet Honey and the Rock, along with Toshi Reagan and Big Lovely, created a stomping ground for their spiritual anthems, and they succeeded in their goal of merging performer and audience.