“Get funky” Feb. 23 as Ranky Tanky featuring Lisa Fischer brings the sounds of Gullah tradition to Birmingham

Grammy Award winners Ranky Tanky, from South Carolina’s West African-rooted Gullah community, combine songs carried down through generations with their own original compositions.

1203906724245646.5Y2vLVINepndyP9WB82b height640Grammy Award winners Ranky Tanky, from South Carolina’s West African-rooted Gullah community, combine songs carried down through generations with their own original compositions.Hear the music of authentic Gullah culture when Grammy Award winners Ranky Tanky featuring Lisa Fischer perform live in concert Thursday, Feb. 23, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The 7 p.m. performance is presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $39. A limited number of $10 student tickets are available for some performances. To buy tickets or for more information, call the ASC Box Office at 205-975-2787 or visit AlysStephens.org

Join ArtPlay and learn more about South Carolina’s Gullah culture and the educational efforts being made to preserve it. Viewers registered for the noon virtual event Wednesday, Feb. 8, will receive a complimentary ticket to the upcoming live performance by Ranky Tanky featuring Lisa Fischer. Register online. The band will also perform free for schoolchildren through ArtPlay’s Meet the Artist program.

The band Ranky Tanky hails from South Carolina’s West African-rooted Gullah community, and Ranky Tanky is a Gullah phrase for “get funky.” Their music combines songs carried down through generations in the Sea Islands of the Southeastern United States with the band’s own original compositions in the Gullah tradition. In Ranky Tanky’s hands, this style of music has been described by NPR as “soulful honey to the ears.” The band won a Grammy Award on Feb. 5 for Best Regional Roots Music Album for its “Live at the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival” recording.

Ranky Tanky are five lifelong friends from Charleston, South Carolina, who have established themselves as passionate global ambassadors for their local culture and community, helping to faithfully preserve and keep alive the traditions originated by African Americans in the Coastal South during slavery. They have achieved many firsts for their community since their formation, earning yet another milestone at the 2019 Grammy Awards by taking home the Best Regional Roots Album prize for their sophomore release, “Good Time.” The album also hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart.     

After four decades of featured background singing with icons like Luther Vandross, The Rolling Stones, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner and Nine Inch Nails, Fischer set out to take center stage with her own humble, heartfelt song. The 2013 Best Documentary Oscar-winning film “20 Feet from Stardom” altered the course of Fischer’s musical journey, telling her story with clips of her legendary duets with the likes of Sting and Mick Jagger. The documentary left audiences eager to see and hear more and awakened her lifelong desire to make music that heals but still rocks the house. ArtPlay and the Student Arts Council will present a free screening of “20 Feet from Stardom” at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, in the Alys Stephens Center. Register online.

The performance is sponsored in part by the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.