Ranky Tanky returns to Tryon with its brand of Gullah music 

Published 10:06 am Monday, April 25, 2022

It’s been a while, but Tryon Fine Arts Center is about “to get funky” again with Ranky Tanky, that headlining quintet  out of Charleston, SC, that is spreading Gullah music around the world. “Ranky Tanky brought down the house in  2017,” the Executive Director of the Arts Center Marianne Carruth said, “and I believe they will do it again this year.  Tryon is a sophisticated community, the kind of people who appreciate and enjoy quality music and entertainment.  And although we might appreciate the cultural significance of Ranky Tanky, I strongly suspect we’ll see people  dancing in the aisles again. When Ranky Tanky cranks up, you just can’t help yourself. You just feel moved– moved by  the rhythms, moved by the lyrics, moved by their energy, moved to have a good time.” 

The Grammy-winning group will take the Tryon stage on Sunday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are going fast but can  be had for $35 and $40 via the Center’s website: www.tryonarts.org/events. “We are absolutely looking forward to  another opportunity to play for the Carolina Foothills community at Tryon Fine Arts Center!” percussionist Quentin  E. Baxter said from his Charleston home. “I am so excited to be playing at the Tryon Fine Arts Center again and  sharing new music with everyone from our Grammy Award-winning album Good Time!” lead singer Quiana Parler  added. 

Ranky Tanky specializes in updating and performing Gullah music, the music of both free and enslaved Africians who  lived on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. The music is rooted in the pain and hardships  that they endured, but it is also about hope. It is that energized hope that has opened worldwide doors for Ranky  Tanky to present Gullah music to anyone looking to learn and/or have a good time. The Gullah words “ranky tanky”  translate to “to get funky with it.” 

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Individually, each member is an accomplished musician. Baxter tours with jazz musicians René Marie and others and  is a former professor of jazz percussion at the College of Charleston. Hamilton has been a Collaborating Artist in the  US State Department’s OneBeat, a musical exchange program. Ross was a member of Matuto, a world-music group  that fused Brazilian music with modern jazz. Singleton is the former Musical and Artistic Director for the Charleston  Jazz Orchestra. And Parler is an alumna of American Idol season 2. 

Currently, Ranky Tanky is touring the world. Before arriving in Tryon, it will have just played in the New Orleans  Jazz & Heritage Festival. Afterward, it will head to the MeadowGrass Music Festival in Colorado and then to Finland,  Sweden, Germany, and then back to North America. Along the band’s musical journey, it has performed on National  Public Radio (NPR), the TODAY (news) Show, PBS’s Newshour, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join the band for Ranky Tanky’s first performance back in 2017,” Baxter said.  “However, and since, I’ve had other opportunities to collaborate with TFAC’s Executive Director, Marianne Carruth,  and find the Foothills community to be extremely receptive to different mediums of artistic expression. I certainly  look forward to this cultural celebration between the South Carolina Lowcountry and the foothills of the North  Carolina mountains.” Trumpet player Singleton added: “Tryon Fine Arts Center here we come! The last time that we  performed on that magnificent stage was indeed magical and memorable. We cannot wait to experience that and the  fantastic crowd again!” 

Tickets and details for these concerts, as well as many other events at TFAC are available at www.tryonarts.org. Call  828-859-8322 with questions. The Box Office is open Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Masks are welcome at all  events. The concert is sponsored by Around Tryon Properties Real Estate, Parsec Financial and North Carolina Arts  Council.