Ranky Tanky brings Gullah soul, jazz stylings to Tryon

Published 2:58 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ranky Tanky, the Charleston, S.C.-based Gullah jazz quintet that’s delighting audiences across the country makes their Western North Carolina debut tonight from 8 -10 p.m. at Tryon Fine Arts Center.

Ranky Tanky takes its name from the Gullah phrase for “work it” or “get down” and has made a name for themselves with their unique fusion of the traditional songs, chants, and rhythms of the Gullah culture with jazz and R&B.

“It’s challenging in the best way, because this kind of collaboration doesn’t always work,” said founding member Quentin Baxter. “What makes a collaboration work is the beauty and reverence that each artist takes through their own angle on the music and how important the music is to them. That’s been the case here.”

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Ranky Tanky’s line up includes drummer Calvin Baxter, Kevin Hamilton on the bass, Charlton Singleton on trumpet, guitarist Clay Ross, and vocalist Quiana Parler.

“We’ve known each other for a number of years, going back to the late 1990s,” said Charlton Singleton. “We’ve all played together here in Charleston in some form or fashion, whether is jazz, a cover band, or our own original material that we’ve written. Clay was the one who came up with this format for Ranky Tanky and celebrating the music of the Gullah Culture.”

“Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God” and refers to the people of the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States, especially near Charleston, that has combined West African and American cultures over three centuries. Tickets for the show are available at tryonarts.org or by calling 828-859-8322.

– submitted by Michelle Fleming