Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem
Harmony, rhythm, indelible songs – these are the hallmarks of Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem,
the New England based folk quartet now in its 15th year. From the Newport Folk Festival to the 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 (fid- dle, 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
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, un-
expected 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 refresh-ing
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 — sophis-
ticated, 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 five albums on Signature Sounds; their latest, Violets Are Blue (2015), is an eclectic bouquet of love songs infused with poetry and groove. Some Bright Morning (2012) and Big Old Life (2007) are the foundation for the band’s “American Spiritual” program, full of songs that uplift, connect, and carry the human spirit. Ranky Tanky (2010), won a Parents’ Choice Foundation Gold Award, and is at the core of the band’s school and family performances. Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem offer residency programs for all ages, including hands-on instrument-building workshops, choral collaborations, and Arts in Medicine engagements.