Get Funky with Charleston’s Ranky Tanky

by Donna Clayton, RCAC Cultural Arts Coordinator

Photo above, left to right: Kevin Hamilton, Charlton Singleton, Quiana Parler, Clay Ross, and Quentin Baxter of Ranky Tanky. Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Every so often, a band comes to town that you just have to see live. This year, that band is critically acclaimed quintet Ranky Tanky, who will perform at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center on February 16.

With a sound that has been called “soulful honey to the ears” by NPR and an album that reached the number one position on the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Jazz Charts, Ranky Tanky takes their name and their inspiration from the timeless music of the Gullah culture born in the southeastern coastal region of the United States. “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” and “Gullah” comes from West African language, meaning “a people blessed by God.”

Ranky Tanky has toured extensively over the past year, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues, Carnegie Hall Presents, Lincoln Center Education, and the World Music Expo.

Each member of the quintet is an accomplished musician in their own right, and they have worked with such artists as Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista, and René Marie. The band’s dynamic vocalist Quiana Parler rose to national prominence after her success on the 2003 season of American Idol. From there, she toured and recorded alongside Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, and David Foster, with performances featured on national broadcasts like NBC’s TODAY, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the American Music Awards.

Ranky Tanky’s rousing performances celebrate the unique music of the Gullah culture that introduced such indelible parts of the American songbook as “Kum ba yah” and “Michael Row the Boat Ashore.” From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, updated with gospel vocals, jazz trumpet solos, and an R&B rhythm section, this one-of-a-kind performance is not to be missed!


Tickets are $30 and may be purchased online at Roswell Cultural Arts Center or by calling 770-594-6232.