Rani Arbo and Scott Kessel ’88 and their beautiful son, Quinn, are regulars at the CFA. I remember when they sat in my office years ago talking about whether or not to live in Middletown or Northampton. I was so thrilled when they picked right! They are world-class musicians whose artistry is equaled by the generosity of their spirit. They were founding faculty members at the Green Street Arts Center, performing at Macdonough School when the Center was still only a dream. They did a fantastic outdoor concert for us in the summer of 2003; Scott, a Wesleyan studio art major, is not only a musician, but a fine artist. His work graces Kidcity among other Middletown locations and he designed the community mandala that was built in Olin Library when the Tibetan monks were here….the list goes on. In between all of their work in Middletown they manage to give 60-70 concerts per year with their band, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem at venues across the country. Hailed by The Boston Herald as “one of America’s most inventive string bands,” The Vintage Guitar Review has said their work “explodes with energy and relaxed good humor…” We are so fortunate to have them in our midst and are delighted to present them (minus Quinn…but I get the feeling he could be onstage soon) with band-mates Anand Nayak ’97 and Andrew Kinsey this weekend. They will be performing selections from their first-ever family CD, Ranky Tanky, at Crowell Concert Hall at 2pm on Saturday, October 24.
Rani told me that this was a natural progression for the band. They are all parents now, and were interested in taking their original sound and turning it to younger audiences. Also, it will allow them to do more in the communities where they tour by providing a family concert option. “Ranky Tanky is very upbeat and fun,” she said. “It has a solid set of roots in older music: the sounds of the 30s to the 70s. It’s the kind of music that parents and grandparents will relate to. Kids seem to really love it. I had a pack of neighborhood kids in my car last week and they were all singing along.”
So call some friends, bring your kids and grandkids and come be charmed by this wonderful band…I can guarantee their warmth and energy will uplift you.
P.S. please take a look at their website…the writing is fantastic, the images are engaging (how can you resist the one of them jumping in the air by the side of the Connecticut River?). It’s a fine example of how artists should put themselves out there on the world wide web: http://www.raniarbo.com