On Wednesday, February 12, Sweet Honey in the Rock graced the stage of Zellerbach Hall. It was a full house, understandable given the prominence of the group and their continual success over the past 40 years. Sweet Honey in the Rock, as the five women told us during the performance, was formed in 1973 by select members of the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company in Washington. Over the years, the group has grown and changed to include many talented musicians as well as countless guest artists, and has gained recognition for their political and social activism, beginning with prominent Musicians United for Safe Energy concert series in New York City in 1979.
The group has continued to support many causes including disaster relief, the Free Africa Movement, and the No More Deaths organization, among many others. And their dedication to political and social causes is apparent in the themes of their songs, many of which were supplemented on Wednesday night by videos and photographs projected behind the group — stirring images of suffering and protests — all with the overarching theme that if we work together, there is hope that we can all improve the world.
Activism may not as prominent now on the Berkeley campus as it once was, but on Wednesday night when the audience sang together for the final song, “let there be peace on Earth, let it begin with me,” the spirit of the civil rights movement came alive again.
Mariza, the “sade of fado” (New York Times) returns to Cal Performances for a special one-night-only performance in Zellerbach Hall. But what exactly is fado?
A genre of music originating in the 1820s, fado is essentially “the blues” of Portugal with its gut wrenching lyrics, sentimental overtones and melodic melodies that hum of longing.
Mariza, fado’s modern day ambassador hails from Libson, one of two main epicenters of the alluring art form. And while the styles of fado can vary from region to region, the sentiment remains the same: at its heart fado is more than songs about loss or longing; it’s about preserving a centuries old style of storytelling that has been passed down from the traditions of wandering troubadours to the voices of modern artists that grace the most revered stages around the world.
Join us as we welcome Mariza to Zellerbach Hall – Wednesday, October 30.