Charleston Gullah music quintet Ranky Tanky, which loosely translates to "Get Funky!" or "Work It," just released its first self-titled album on Oct. 20, and the disc has made it to the top of the jazz charts on iTunes and Amazon.
"Ranky Tanky" was ranking at No. 4 on the iTunes jazz charts and was in the top 10 on the Amazon jazz charts yesterday, though those rankings have since declined to the top 50.
They've also recently garnered attention from the New York Times, All About Jazz, Paste Magazine and Jazziz Magazine.
“Ranky Tanky, from Charleston, S.C., sings old Gullah songs — some of them sly moral lessons — in arrangements that connect their beat to a New Orleans lilt," writes the New York Times.
“Ranky Tanky proved that exotic music can be both unfamiliar enough to be surprising, and yet familiar enough to provoke swinging hips and nodding heads. When it works, it’s the best of both worlds," notes Paste Magazine.
The new album blends elements of jazz, R&B, gospel and soul to create a truly unique sound inspired by the Gullah culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry. A stand-up bass, trumpet, guitar, drums, tambourine and soaring vocals are among the sounds on the new album, which includes a true genre-bending range.
While instrumental track "Knee Bone" is a classic jazz number with some gospel-influenced soul toward the end, "Ranky Tank" arrives with a funky groove, tambourine rhythm and some high-energy harmonies. Then, you have goosebump-inducing a capella "Been in the Storm" and deeply emotional mellow soul piece "O Death" driven by haunting vocals.
The 13-track disc is the band's first official full-length. And with this early success, we won't be surprised if we see them making many, many more.