This album is really something. It would be enough to feature an ensemble of world-class musicians at the top of their game -- which Ranky Tanky exhibits in spades. But this music runs deep through the band's souls, making Ranky Tanky a truly majestic album. Ranky Tanky is a compilation of Gullah compositions as interpreted through the band's lens. If you're unfamiliar with the term, Gullah is both a proud language and a culture transmitted by descendants of free black people throughout the Carolinas and parts of Georgia. (Justice Clarence Thomas didn't speak English until grade school.) The band's name, Ranky Tanky, means "get funky."
Many of the songs will be familiar to folk music aficionados, but Ranky Tanky's approach will help you hear them anew. The band is grounded in jazz, so these arrangements play fast and loose in the best possible ways. But the main accomplishment here is Ranky Tanky's ability to communicate their ferocious pride in their heritage. Especially in these times, lifting voices to celebrate a proud history of resistance and resilience is the music we need.