Home Grammy award-winning Ranky Tanky brings low country soul to Blacksburg

Grammy award-winning Ranky Tanky brings low country soul to Blacksburg

ranky tanky quintet
Photo courtesy of Peter Frank Edwards.

The Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg presents the Ranky Tanky quintet on Friday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m., part of Virginia Tech reunion weekend festivities.

The performance will take place in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall.

The group includes five lifelong friends from Charleston, S.C., and mixes African music, American gospel and R&B.

In the liner notes for the group’s first album, “Ranky Tanky,” historian Herb Frazier writes, “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 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. Saturday; or by calling (540) 231-5300 during box office hours.

Story by Crystal Abbe Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.