Title: Good Time
Artist: Ranky Tanky
Label: Resilience Music
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: July 12, 2019
Ranky Tanky‘s Good Time is a beautiful project that honors the Gullah culture while also celebrating African and African American culture and music. Their music represents the African concept of music, life and religion as a unified entity. Because of this “oneness,” many of Ranky Tanky’s songs such as “Freedom” and “Stand By Me” are intertwined with social and political messages, conveying issues in contemporary Black life while also using religious overtones. These sacred overtones are heard throughout the song “Good Time,” which “takes you straight to church” as they say in the vernacular. Ranky Tanky also revisit the storytelling folk tradition of their Gullah heritage to convey the messages found in each song.
The Gullah are descendants of West Africans who were enslaved and brought to the Americas. Gullah people live in South Carolina and Georgia in the southeastern United States, primarily within small farming and fishing communities along the chain of Sea Islands, which runs parallel to the Atlantic coast. Because of the relative isolation of the Gullah people, they have preserved more African cultural heritage than any other group of African slave descendants in the U.S., and speak a creole language that resonates with languages found in Sierra Leone. In fact, the group’s name “Ranky Tanky” actually comes from the Gullah tradition, roughly translating as “Good time, a good time / We gonna have a time.”
Good Time is an album that will have you dancing and singing along while making you think about the African American past and the present. Ranky Tanky does a great job at infusing issues of Gullah life, connecting them to greater issues found in Black life as a whole.
Reviewed by Bobby E. Davis Jr