Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut on Oct. 20th, 2017. By December of that year, the group had been been profiled on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and their album soared to the #1 position on the Billboard, I-Tunes, and Amazon Jazz Charts.
“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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“Ranky Tanky, from Charleston, S.C., sings old Gullah songs — some of them sly moral lessons — in arrangements that connect their beat to a New Orleans lilt.” – New York Times
“The biggest surprise of [GlobalFEST], Ranky Tanky proved that exotic music can be both unfamiliar enough to be surprising, and yet familiar enough to provoke swinging hips and nodding heads. When it works, it’s the best of both worlds.” – Paste Magazine
“Combining revered Gullah kinship with a jazz sensibility, Ranky Tanky accentuates the spirituality connected to the ring shouts and praise houses, proposing a modern rendition of their ancestral music.” – All About Jazz
“This group isn’t bound to any one particular musical genre, and it is grounded instead by an enigmatic, unshakeable and unspoiled tradition that’s long been hidden in plain sight.” – Jazziz Magazine