Harmony, rhythm, indelible songs – these are the hallmarks of Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, the New England based folk quartet now in its 20th year. From the Newport Folk Festival to California World Music Festival and beyond, this band’s steadfast brew of wit, camaraderie, and musicality leaves audiences everywhere humming and hopeful, spirits renewed.
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem are Rani Arbo (fiddle, guitar), Andrew Kinsey (bass, banjo, ukulele), Anand Nayak (electric and acoustic guitars) and Scott Kessel (percussion). At the helm, Arbo is “blessed with an unmistakable voice, both light RANI ARBO & DAISY MAYHEM and sultry, with a hint of tremolo and smoke” (Acoustic Guitar). With Kinsey and Nayak’s vibrant baritones and Kessel’s resonant bass, the band’s signature lockstep harmonies can shake the rafters or hush the room. Arbo’s fiddle is sweet and sinewy, while Nayak’s guitar stretches across genre lines. Kinsey’s old-time bass anchors the deep groove of Kessel’s homemade percussion kit – a truly funky collection of cardboard boxes, tin cans, caulk tubes, packing-tape tambourines, bottle-cap rattles, Mongolian jaw harps, and a vinyl suitcase.
In the lineage of string bands who blur the boundaries of American roots music, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem have always been standard-bearers, with a particular knack for pairing words and music. From bluegrass barnstormers to sultry swing, old-time gospel to bluesy folk-rock, they consistently turn in lush arrangements with “stylish, unexpected choices” (Acoustic Guitar). Original songs fit seamlessly aside artful re-workings of Georgia Sea Islands music, Hank Williams, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen – just a few of the many places this band is willing to go. Writes Maverick Magazine, “How refreshing to hear something that sounds as if it has come from people who are genuinely original thinkers. As soon as Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem strike up, you realize this is a band that is unpredictable and impossible to pigeonhole. But, what a thoroughly mellifluous melange – sophisticated, soulful and always handled with care and a lightness of touch that is part folk/jazz/ country, part blues/old time, and all good. There is a togetherness that flows right through the heart of the performance. It never gets too clever and always remains understated and classy.”
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem have six albums on Signature Sounds; and three special programs in addition to their general repertoire show. Wintersong explores joy and reflection at the roots of Christmas and winter solstice celebrations (a party, with poetry!). American Spiritual is a varied program of songs that uplift, connect, and carry the human spirit. The band's CD Ranky Tanky (2010) won a Parents’ Choice Foundation Gold Award, and is the core of the band's school and family performances. Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem offer residency programs for all ages, including instrument-building workshops, choral collaborations, and Arts in Medicine engagements.