Sweet Honey in the Rock, the world-renowned, award-winning female African American ensemble performs a cappella on a delightfully buoyant and positive new CD aimed at teaching kids some of life's basic lessons in 18 exuberant, non-preachy songs. The joyful sound of six magically interwoven voices and upbeat advice - utilizing folk, gospel, jazz, blues and even rap styles - will appeal to children and parents alike.
Though there's long been an educational component within the socially conscious music of Sweet Honey in the Rock, this release targeted at the children's educational market 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