South Carolina natives, “Ranky Tanky,” first came together in 1998, fresh out of university, to form a seminal Charleston quartet called, “The Gradual Lean.” Clay Ross, Quentin Baxter, Kevin Hamilton, and Charlton Singleton, who shared prodigious musical talent and a playful sense of humor, would frequently crash an event, play a song for the lover of a friend, and just as quickly move on.
For a few beautiful years, impromptu “leans” were happening all across the Charleston Peninsula, and while this band remained local, its members went on to international acclaim, a grammy nomination, international tours, thousands of performances, and millions of notes played around the world with various other projects. Through it all, the four remained friends and occasional collaborators, always open to the possibilities of performing together again.
Now, united by years apart and a deeper understanding of home, these accomplished artists have come together again, joined by vocalist Quiana Parler, to celebrate a “Heartland of American Music” born in their own backyards.
“Ranky Tanky” is Sea Island Gullah for “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” And it’s in this spirit that the newly reformed quintet performs timeless music from the Carolina Coast. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston, SC are a “rank” and fertile ground from which these contemporary artists are grateful to have grown.