Welcome to the first and much-awaited family CD, Ranky Tanky, from the New England-based quartet Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem. The Boston Herald hails them as "One of America's most inventive string bands," and they deliver here with a rollicking ride through all things Americana. From the title track (a musical game from the Georgia Sea islands), to Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater,” Nat King Cole, the Funky Meters, and re-workings of Cat Stevens, John Gorka and Tom Petty, Ranky Tanky possesses a breadth and depth of style that makes it, in the words of a Hartford radio DJ, “Too good to simply consign to the kids’ rack.”
Ranky Tanky is co-produced by Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem and band guitarist Anand Nayak, who has won national recognition for his work with Stevesongs, now featured daily on PBS Kids. Ranky Tanky has a live energy that communicates instantly: after 10 years on stage and in the studio, this band knows that the key to good music is to get out of the way and let it happen — on the first take, if at all possible. The group features Rani Arbo (fiddle, vocals), Anand Nayak (guitar, vocals), Andrew Kinsey (bass, vocals), and Scott Kessel (percussion, vocals). Kessel plays the “Drumship Enterprise,” a recycled drum set made of cardboard and wooden boxes, tin cans, plastic jugs, and much more. Kinsey and Nayak also trade stints on the ukulele and banjo, and guest musicians contribute on horns (Will Choe and Dan Fox), clarinet (Jim Armenti) and banjo and mandolin (Dave Dick).
After 10 years of touring together (often with their own kids in tow) Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem are bona fide family themselves — one you’ll want to jump up and join, as soon as you hear them play. Go for it! Pick up a shaker, dance around the living room, wiggle in the car seat — or better yet, pack up the kids and come out to a live show. Their family show is a new endeavor, but the band has a longstanding reputation for performances that are, as the Boston Globe put it, “playful and profound.” Ranky Tanky sticks with that equation: it’s uplifting, danceable, playful, sometimes silly, sometimes wistful, and never sarcastic. Is it music for kids that parents can love, or music for parents that kids can love? The band refuses to answer that question. They’d rather prove that good music never grows old — and that it keeps us all young. Play along!
A FEW QUOTES
“Great organic Americana music for the whole family.”
— Warren Truitt, Kids Music That Rocks
“Flower power meets front porch rock and roll…I fell in love from the first note of the CD!”
— Jeff Bogle, Out with the Kids
"If I could hang this song [Sing Out] on my refrigerator, I would"
— Mindy Thomas, talking up Ranky Tanky on Sirius KIDS (the Absolutely Mindy show)
"This is not a kids album. It's too good to simply consign to the kids' rack. Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem have a new album that will appeal to the kid in all of us. The kid who likes to sing, and dance and roll around on the floor. The band has obviously scoured their record collections to find songs that have a positive message, and a perfect vibe. So they channel and reconfigure Cat Stevens, John Gorka, Sheb Wooley (Purple People Eater) and a bunch of traditional songs, seeking that ultimate goal - to get us shaking our fannies while we celebrate life. "
— Ed McKeon, DJ, WWUH Radio
"If Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem offer to cook at your place, you better open up all the doors, and borrow every table and chair you can because the whole town should come."
— Folk Alley