Ysaye Maria Barnwell

Blues, Musical Artist

1946 –


Who is Ysaye Maria Barnwell?

Ysaye Maria Barnwell has been a member of the African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock since 1979. She is a prolific composer, writing many of the group's songs, as well as being commissioned to create music for dance, choral, film, and stage productions. She conducts music workshops around the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, including a workshop she created called "Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition". In 1977, she founded the Jubilee Singers, a choir at All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC.

Barnwell earned bachelor's and master's degrees in speech pathology from State University of New York at Geneseo, and a PhD in cranio-facial studies from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1981, she also earned a Master of Science in Public Health, from Howard University.

Barnwell produced Sweet Honey in the Rock's 1998 25th anniversary album, ...Twenty-Five..., and edited Continuum: The First Songbook of Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Barnwell's acting credits include a principal role on a television series called A Man Called Hawk; she also appeared in the 1998 film Beloved.

Barnwell released a solo recording of stories and song, Um Humm, in 2000.

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Feb 28, 1946
New York
Also known as
  • Ysaye M. Barnwell
  • Unitarian Universalism
  • African American
  • United States of America
  • Howard University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • State University of New York at Geneseo

on July 23, 2013


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