Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem to Play at Midtown Scholar Bookstore, Harrisburg, April 13, 2012

By John Hope

Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem bring their unique combination of wicked grooves, sublime lead singing, great harmonies, sparkling original songs, and a deep repertoire spanning 200 years of American music to an April 13 Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, 1302 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg. The group will also present two family friendly programs with its new CD “Ranky Tanky” on Saturday, April 14, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Martin Library, 159 E. Market Street, York. Pre-registration is required.

Start with a fiddle, a guitar, and a standup bass. Add a cardboard box with a suitcase bass drum and tin can cymbals played by a former rock and Zydeco drummer. Over that fine groove, lay Rani Arbo’s expressive alto, seamless four-part harmonies, and a splash of banjo and ukulele, and you have a Daisy Mayhem performance.

The group’s music has been described as “neo old timey with cosmopolitan splashes of contemporary pop and jazz.” It’s an exuberant mix of musical idioms held together by superb musicianship, impeccable taste, and the band’s charismatic vocals. A stage show dips into country blues, vintage swing, modern songwriter fare, and Appalachian fiddle tunes and songs.

Daisy Mayhem founder Rani Arbo (fiddle, lead vocals) brings 30 years of choral singing to the mix, along with years with a honkytonk band, a Balkan rock band, and the folk-bluegrass band Salamander Crossing. Her singing combines a bewitching expressive alto voice that is equal parts choir girl, flirty teenager, and world-weary woman and navigates swing tunes, funky call-and-response songs, and ballads with unusual honesty and ease. Andrew Kinsey (double bass, banjo, vocals) began his musical life as the youngest bagpiper in his town. He later took up the double bass with frequent regressions in the ukulele and banjo. As Arbo’s singing partner for more than 15 years, his rich, compelling baritone voice, generous spirit, and humorous sensibilities inspired the group’s debut CD, “Cocktail Swing.” Anand Nayak (guitar, vocals) fell for the guitar as a teenager and has been exploring music and instruments from all over the world. He is a powerful songwriter with a rare gift for arranging and a gutsy guitar style that draws from a century’s worth of jazz, funk, blues, and folk masters. Scott Kessel (“Drumship Enterprise,” vocals) was once a regular kit drummer but in Daisy Mayhem he has the Drumship Enterprise, a recycled drum kit comprised of a cardboard box, cat food tins, a Danish butter cookie tin, and a suitcase. He combines American rock and pop beats with African, Afro-Cuban, New Orleans, and South American rhythms to create the foundation of Daisy Mayhem’s unmistakable grove.

Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS members, and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or online at ww.BrownPaperTickets.com. Susquehanna Folk Music Society programs are supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, administered locally by the Cultural Alliance of York County. Additional support comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society web site at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.                        

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