Bluefest is Sweet as Honey in a Rock



Eve Jeffery

Well I am just about wetting myself. Have you ever had a dream come true? Well I am about to – let’s step back 33 years. It all started with a protest…

When I was just 16, for Christmas ‘Santa’ brought me an album called No Nukes – The Muse Concerts For a Non-Nuclear Future.

The recording, on vinyl of course, was a 1979 triple live album that contained selections from the September 1979 Madison Square Garden concerts by the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective, with Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall being the key organisers of the event and guiding forces behind the album.

What were my parents thinking buying me a album full of songs sung at a protest concert? It was the cementing of an attitude that was already firmly based in my upbringing (so I suppose Father Christmas did know what she was doing), but it was also the start of a love affair.

There was a track on that album called A Woman by a group called Sweet Honey In The Rock. I am pretty sure that by the end of summer everyone in my house could probably sing along with it because I played it so many times.

For the next 10 years I gathered a collection of their albums from importers because you couldn’t buy them in Oz.

Returning to 2013… In just two days’ time, I will walk into the photographers’ pit at Bluesfest and wet myself when these extraordinarily luscious, celestial beings step on to the Crossroads stage at Tyagarah at 4.15pm. But wait! I also get to see them again on Sunday on Jambalaya at 4.30pm. I’m like god’s favourite human at the moment! Let’s just hope I can hold it together to actually take some photos.

Sweet Honey in the Rock – as far as I am concerned they are the Axis of Awesome at this year’s Bluesfest.

I hear a collective “huh?”

For the first time, Grammy award winning, all woman, acapella ensemble Sweet Honey in The Rock are making their way to Blues. Their music is a celebration of the rich textures of their African-American legacy and traditions. Through their stunning vocal prowess they push the boundaries of and combine the complexities of blues, traditional gospel hymns, reggae, African chants, hip hop, ancient lullabies and jazz improvisation that will sweep you away.

Their collective voice, occasionally accompanied by hand percussion instruments, produces a sound filled with soulful, soaring harmonies and intricate rhythms that’s impossible to forget. Their 20th Grammy Award nominated album, Experience…101 gained these incredible women an invitation to play a concert at the White House, blowing everyone away.

February saw the release on Appleseed Recordings A Tribute – Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center, which spotlights the quintet’s inspirations and versatility.

Their voices are steeped in the sacred music of the Black church and the clarion calls of the civil rights movement, and they represent the struggle for justice everywhere and the continual striving for peace, hope, love and justice. Be swept up in the effortless beauty that is Sweet Honey in The Rock this Easter at Bluesfest.


Sweet Honey in the Rock - as far as I am concerned they are the Axis of Awesome at this year's Bluesfest

Sweet Honey in the Rock – as far as I am concerned they are the Axis of Awesome at this year’s Bluesfest




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