On Friday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m., the Moss Arts Center will present an evening full of grooves, funk, and fun with Grammy Award-winning quintet Ranky Tanky. The band brings a savory taste of South Carolina low country soul to Blacksburg for Virginia Tech Reunion Weekend.
The performance will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
Mixing African music, American gospel, and R&B, Ranky Tanky is five lifelong friends from Charleston. The group performs timeless music born from the Gullah culture of the Southeastern Sea Islands and has established itself as a passionate global ambassador for its local culture and community, helping to faithfully preserve the traditions originated by African-Americans in the coastal South during slavery.
Ranky Tanky (a Gullah phrase for “get funky”) is led by the extraordinary voice of singer Quiana Parler. The band’s transporting music uplifts and inspires, bringing audiences to their feet with lively and danceable beats.
The program for the evening will include songs from the band’s self-titled debut album and its Grammy-winning album, “Good Time” that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart, “Good Time” combines songs carried down through generations in the Sea Islands with the band’s original compositions in the Gullah tradition.
In the liner notes for the group’s first album, “Ranky Tanky,” historian Herb Frazier wrote, “Gullah people from the Sea Islands of South Carolina are the descendants of Africans captured along Africa’s rice coast [in West Africa]. In the so-called new world, the enslaved toiled under the hot Carolina sun along the Atlantic coast. From this bondage came Gullah, a mixture of African and English styles.”
Ranky Tanky has been featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” NBC’s “Today” show, “PBS Newshour,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The band was also a featured artist for President Biden’s inauguration event, “We the People,” and was named 2020 Artist of the Year by the Charleston City Paper.
Tickets for the performance are $25 for general admission and $10 for Virginia Tech students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.