UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Ranky Tanky on Thursday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Pacific

This virtual event is available for ticket holders to replay for one week


  • UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Ranky Tanky
  • The dynamo quintet performs their inspired take on Gullah music of the Carolina Coast
  • Winner of the 2020 Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album
  • This performance will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent executive arts editor
  • Part of UCSB Arts & Lectures’ Race to Justice virtual event series
  • Ticket holders will be able to replay this event for one week
  • Thursday, April 15 / 5 p.m. Pacific / Virtual
  • $10 General Public and FREE for UCSB Students (registration required)
  • Tickets/Info: (805) 893-3535, www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu

▶ ▶ ▶ Editors/Reviewers: Please include the full name of UCSB Arts & Lectures in all media coverage, including reviews.


“Wowing audiences the world over with their soulful, get-up-and-dance versions of Sea Island spirituals and work songs.” 

Charleston Magazine


UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Ranky Tanky on Thursday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Pacific. Charleston’s Ranky Tanky exploded onto the music scene with their inspired take on the soulful songs of South Carolina’s Gullah culture, taking home the 2020 Grammy win for Best Regional Roots Music Album. With a name that translates loosely as “Get Funky,” Ranky Tanky is a relentlessly upbeat ambassador of Gullah, a culture known for retaining more African linguistic and cultural heritage than any other African-American community in the United States. Preserving and paying homage to a vanishing way of life, the dynamo quintet introduces audiences to the language, rhythm and music of the region with a distinctly American sound that incorporates jazz, blues, gospel and R&B.

This performance will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent executive arts editor.

The virtual event is part of UCSB Arts & Lectures’ Race to Justice series. 



Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut in October 2017, and by December of that year the group had been profiled on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and their album soared to the No. 1 position on the Billboard, iTunes and Amazon Jazz Charts. The word “Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God,” while “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work it,” or “Get Funky!” 

The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this band of native South Carolinians who mix the lowcountry traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. Fresh out of college, trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton and drummer Quentin Baxter originally worked together as an in-demand jazz quartet on the Charleston scene in the late 1990s before splitting off to each make their way as freelance musicians, working with names like Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista and René Marie. Gaining years of valuable experience while developing a deeper appreciation for the South Carolina Gullah tradition they came from, the band reformed with the dynamic vocalist Quiana Parler to celebrate the bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues that mark the lowcountry mainland and Sea Islands – music made by a self-contained culture of descendants of enslaved Africans that introduced such indelible parts of American songbook as “Kum Bah Yah” and “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore.” 


Charles Donelan is the executive arts editor of the Santa Barbara Independent and director of the Humanities Program at the Laguna Blanca School.


Race to Justice: This is a moment of reckoning. As a nation, we are confronting evidence of inequality that reaches every corner of society. Arts & Lectures has a history of bringing complex issues to the forefront. Now, we are spearheading an in-depth look at systemic racism from every angle, including abolition, underlying conditions, reparations, criminal justice and more. Interdisciplinary and cross-departmental, this season-long series engages leading activists, creatives and thinkers to expand our understanding of racism and how race impacts society and to inspire an expansive approach to advancing racial equality. 


Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures is the largest and most influential arts and lectures organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Arts & Lectures annually presents more than a hundred events, from criticallyacclaimed concerts and dance performances by world-renowned artists to talks by groundbreaking authors and film series at UCSB and Santa Barbara-area venues. With a mission to “educate, entertain and inspire,” A&L also oversees an outreach program that brings visiting artists and speakers into local classrooms and other venues for master classes, open rehearsals, discussions and more, serving K-12 students, college students and the general public. 


Ranky Tanky is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Part of the Race to Justice series.  

Tickets are $10 for the general public and FREE for UCSB students (registration required)

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at (805) 893-3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.  

Race to Justice Lead Sponsors: Marcy Carsey, Connie Frank & Evan Thompson, Patty & John MacFarlane, Sara Miller McCune, Santa Barbara Foundation, Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin, Dick Wolf, and Zegar Family Foundation. 

Race to Justice UC Santa Barbara Campus Partners: Department of Black Studies, Center for Black Studies Research, Division of Social Sciences, Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences, Division of Student Affairs, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Graduate Division, Bren School for Environmental Science & Management, College of Creative Studies, College of Engineering, MultiCultural Center, Carsey-Wolf Center, The Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies, UCSB Library | UCSB Reads, Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor. 

Race to Justice Media Sponsors: Santa Barbara Independent, KCRW, Voice Magazine, Noozhawk.

Most Race to Justice events are hour-long programs and include an audience Q&A. 

Race to Justice events are FREE for UCSB students (registration required). 

UCSB Arts & Lectures gratefully acknowledges our Community Partners the Natalie Orfalea Foundation & Lou Buglioli for their generous support of the 2020-2021 season. 

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