Ranky Tanky have achieved many firsts for South Carolina’s West African-rooted Gullah community since their formation, earning yet another milestone at last night’s GRAMMY Awards by taking home the Best Regional Roots Album prize for their sophomore release, Good Time. The album, which also hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart over the summer, combines songs carried down through generations in the Sea Islands of the Southeastern United States with the band’s own original compositions in the Gullah tradition. In Ranky Tanky’s hands, this style of music has been described as “soulful honey to the ears” (NPR) while being covered by the New York Times, NPR’s Fresh Air and The TODAY Show, who had the band on for a performance earlier this year.
Ranky Tanky (which is a Gullah phrase for “get funky”) are five lifelong friends from Charleston, South Carolina who have established themselves as passionate global ambassadors for their local culture and community, helping to faithfully preserve the traditions originated by African Americans in the coastal South during slavery that are kept alive through the present day. The band were recently the subjects of a 10-page profile in Oxford American’s South Carolina Music Issue and were named 2019 Artist of The Year by the Charleston City Paper.
Ranky Tanky will tour through 2020, with highlights including their debut appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April and a much-anticipated hometown show with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra on March 12.