Passport Series: Ranky Tanky

Friday, February 09, 2018

Charleston, SC based quintet, Ranky Tanky, unites celebrated musicians from the South Carolina low country, most of whom trace their roots directly back to a unique African American culture called Gullah. Their jazzy bluesy funk pays tribute to the rich history of this distinct community by updating timeless game songs, work songs, and spirituals collected from early field recordings taken along the Carolina Coast.

“Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God.” “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” In this spirit this Charleston, SC based quintet performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston, SC are “rank” and fertile ground from which these contemporary artists are grateful to have grown.

South Carolina natives Quentin Baxter, Kevin Hamilton, Charlton Singleton, and Clay Ross first came together in 1998, fresh out of university, to form a seminal Charleston jazz quartet. Now, united by years apart and a deeper understanding of home, these accomplished artists have come together again, joined by one of the low country’s most celebrated vocalists Quiana Parler, to revive a “Heartland of American Music” born in their own backyards.

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