The Charleston low country is coming to Fairfield! Taking their name from the Gullah phrase for “work it” or “get down,” Ranky Tanky will have the Quick’s audience swinging hips and nodding heads as they transform the hymns, party anthems, and songs of the Gullah islands into infectiously rocking numbers.
Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut on October 20, 2017. By December 2017, the group had been profiled on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and their album soared to #1 on Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon jazz charts. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston are fertile ground from which these artists are grateful to have grown.
The band of native South Carolinians broke out onto the scene with their 2017 debut album. Assembling after graduating from University, the band is made up of trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton, drummer Quentin Baxter, and the sounds of big-voiced, joyful singer, Quiana Parler, who found ample praise on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” “Everyone pulls their weight in this tight, efficient combo,” they write, “but Quiana Parler's vocal is in a league of its own. With her range, power and control of subtle ornamentation, she could bring down the house all by herself.”
The Gulluh people are decedents of slaves brought to the “low country” from primarily West African nations to farm rice on the Sea Islands off the coast of the south Atlantic seaboard. Due to the harsh weather conditions and labor issues after the Civil War, plantation owners moved away from the area. The Gullah have lived in relative isolation, and their culture and traditions were able to be preserved without much outside influence.
Ranky Tanky celebrates this tradition by breathing new life into traditional Gullah music, celebrating an oft overlooked genre and people with soul, funk and R&B. “Among the Gullah's unique contributions to African-American culture is a deeply distilled repertoire of spirituals and work songs. On the self-titled debut by the quintet Ranky Tanky, Gullah songs are lively, soulful honey to the ears.”