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Ysaye Maria Barnwell

Personal information
OriginNew York
GenresA cappella, Soul, R&B, blues, folk
OccupationSinger, Songwriter, Producer, Educator, Actor, Writer
InstrumentsVocals, drums,
Years active1977 present
LabelsFlying Fish, EarthBeat!/Warner Bros. Records, Music For Little People, Rykodisc, Sony Music,
Associated actsSweet Honey in the Rock, Jubilee Singers

     Home | American actors | Ysaye Maria Barnwell

Ysaye Maria Barnwell (born 1947) has been a member of the African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock since 1979. She is a prolific composer, who composes many of the group's songs, and has been 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 (1967 and 1968) in speech pathology from State University of New York at Geneseo, and a Ph.D. (1975) in cranio-facial studies from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1981, she also earned a post-doctoral MSPH degree, 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" and also appeared in the 1998 film Beloved, which starred Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.

Barnwell released a solo musical album, Um Humm, in 2000.

Barnwell has also written a children's book with CD, No Mirrors In My Nana's House. A second children's book and CD set was released in March, 2008: We Are One.

Barnwell was named after the great Belgian violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe.

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