The Best Song in the World

Ella’s Song-Sweet Honey in the Rock
December 29, 2008, 3:13 pm
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: , ,

Whew. Sweet Honey in the Rock. I don’t even know if I’m cool enough to talk about these incredible women, they blow my socks off so hard. An a capella group since the late seventies, SHR has been doing political, heart moving music to stir up the movement for more than my short life. I was blessed enough to glimpse them in person, which was my first introduction to their art. Not only do they sing and play their music with more love than any artist I have witnessed, but they also sign in in ASL. I was as mesmerized by their voices and movement as the signer who managed to articulate the music that almost did justice to what I was able to hear.

I am not connected with SHR enough to try to describe who they are, their story, or what inspires them; I would be afraid of doing their power a disservice by not illuminating it clearly. But I can say that their spirit is infused in their songs incredibly deep. I love Ella’s Song because of this—they aren’t parroting some “love everyone” lyrics that folks tune out as soon as they catch on. These words are radical, powerful, and true. Powerful, connected elders demanding youth to lead them and asking how to best be humble is inspiring stuff. Their voices ride beside and over each other like a unfolding waterfall. The first time I heard this song, tears came to my eyes in the way that happens when truth is trumpeted clearly, honestly, and openly into the air. This really is it, folks. For the love, message, and sound, Ella’s Song is the best song in the world.

The lyrics are worth reading over and over again. Song and lyrics under the cut.
By Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock
We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes
Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons
Is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons
That which touches me most is that I had a chance to work with people
Passing on to others that which was passed on to me
To me young people come first, they have the courage where we fail
And if I can but shed some light as they carry us through the gale
The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on
Is when the reins are in the hands of the young, who dare to run against the storm
Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me
I need to be one in the number as we stand against tyranny
Struggling myself don’t mean a whole lot, I’ve come to realize
That teaching others to stand up and fight is the only way my struggle survives
I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard
At times I can be quite difficult, I’ll bow to no man’s word
We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

Have a Listen!

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