Gullah culture through a prism of African, gospel and R&B music to create “soulful honey for the ears.”
Saturday, July 20th at 8pm
Ventura College Performing Arts Center
4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura
Quentin Baxter | drums & percussion
Kevin Hamilton | bass
Quiana Parler | vocalist
Clay Ross | guitar & vocals
Charlton Singleton | trumpet & vocals
The songs of Ranky Tanky spring from the storied Gullah culture of Georgia and South Carolina’s Lowcountry and Sea Islands where life is laced with the African ways of a creole people originally transported as slaves from one “rice coast” (Africa’s) to another (America’s). “Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God” and “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” in Gullah’s distinctive African-American patois.
Emerging from this still fertile cultural epicenter, the Charleston, SC based quintet—four Gullah descendants and one disciple— have joined together to revive a heartland of American roots music born in their own backyards to preserve and perform it for today’s audiences. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from backbreaking slavery work songs to heartbreaking spirituals and delicate lullabies—it’s timeless music seasoned with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B so a new generation can relate.
The result? Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut on October 20, 2017. By December of that year, the group had been profiled on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and their album, which NPR called “soulful honey for the ears,” had soared to the number one position on the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Jazz Charts.
“Lead singer Quiana Parler [an alumnus of American Idol] is a powerhouse presence,” says Downbeat magazine, “and trumpeter Charlton Singleton is amazingly adept at crafting lines that complement the singer’s timbre….Electric guitarist Clay Ross plays in a style that seems to draw a connection to West African music of the 20th century. Rounding out the band are bassist Kevin Hamilton and drummer Quentin E. Baxter, who excel at any tempo. Whether Ranky Tanky is unleashing a high-energy dance number or carefully sculpting a lullaby…the music always feels fresh. This band can take tunes from yesterday and make them sound as lively and relevant as 21st-century electronic beats.”
“Ranky Tanky brings freshness and uplift to overlooked Americana,” adds NPR. “In a pop music milieu ever hungry for newness, this group proves that the right musicians can make the past new all over again.”
Sponsors: Barbara Meister
Dr. Richard & Lori Reisman