Ysaye Barnwell

  • Vocalist, composer, and teacher

Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell is a native New Yorker now living in Washington, DC and is the only child and perfect blend of her mother, a registered nurse and her father, a classical violinist. Dr. Barnwell studied violin for 15 years beginning at age 2... More

Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell is a native New Yorker now living in Washington, DC and is the only child and perfect blend of her mother, a registered nurse and her father, a classical violinist. Dr. Barnwell studied violin for 15 years beginning at age 2 1/2, and majored in music through high school. With this background, she went on to earn the Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Speech Pathology, Doctor of Philosophy in Speech Pathology, and the Master of Science in Public Health.

Dr. Barnwell joined Sweet Honey In The Rock® in 1979 and has appeared as a vocalist and/ or instrumentalist on more than thirty recordings with Sweet Honey In The Rock and other artists. She has, for the past thirty years, spent much of her time off stage working as a master teacher and choral clinician in African American cultural performance. Her workshop “Building a Vocal Community®: Singing in the African American Tradition” has, over the past 25 years, been conducted on three continents, making her work in the field a significant source of inspiration for both singers and non-singers, a model of pedagogy for educators, cultural activists, and historians.

Three axioms have proven significant in Barnwell’s life. To whom much is given, much is required. As one door closes, another door opens. Everything matters.

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Ysaye Barnwell's Presentations

Gel 2010 April 2010

The first performance of the Gel choir: Enlisting the 350 voices within the Gel 2010 audience, Ysaye Barnwell conducted a 20-minute experience in vocal community, culminating in the entire conference singing "We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For"... More

The first performance of the Gel choir: Enlisting the 350 voices within the Gel 2010 audience, Ysaye Barnwell conducted a 20-minute experience in vocal community, culminating in the entire conference singing "We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For" in multi-part harmony.

You can hear Sweet Honey in the Rock singing this song on the album Twenty-Five. It's also available as an audio stream on Rhapsody.

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