About the Band

“If Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem offer to cook at your place, you better open up all the doors, and borrow every table and chair you can, because the whole town should come.” — Folk Alley Magazine
“Playful and profound” — The Boston Globe

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem are a steadily deepening, 12-year brew of band chemistry, life experience and musical evolution. In 2007, the San Francisco Guardian called them “one of the most song- and arrangement-oriented bands in a field overgrown with pyrotechnic, jam- and solo-conscious virtuosos.” Nice. And true. But what really sets this band apart is their connection — to each other, to the audience, and to the music. Simultaneously loose and tight, their playing seems to tick by invisible radar; it’s exciting, cathartic, and fun to watch. It’s a band.

On stage, they are Rani Arbo (fiddle, guitar), Andrew Kinsey (bass, banjo, uke), Anand Nayak (electric and acoustic guitars) and Scott Kessel (percussion). Kessel’s percussion rig is 95% recycled, featuring a cardboard box, tin cans, caulk tubes, and a vinyl suitcase in lieu of a bass drum. All the band members sing, and their four-part harmonies soar, whether on a haunting Appalachian ballad, a Springsteen rocker, or a Bahamian a capella song. Many of their songs plumb the human condition, with topics ranging from joy to death (a favorite), loss, aging, blackbirds and red-haired boys. The band has jokingly dubbed itself an “agnostic gospel” revival show, but there’s truth in it; the refrain they hear time and again from audiences all over the country is that their performances really do heal.

Musically, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem reuse and recycle (but try hard not to reduce) 150 years of American music. They hang a Georgia Sea Islands song on a New Orleans groove. They write lyrics for an Irish fiddle tune and underpin it with an Afro-Cuban cajon. Leonard Cohen gets clawhammer banjo; Springsteen gets bluegrass harmonies. Their originals range from blues, to bluegrass, to Unitarian funk gospel, to crooner swing, to spooky folk-pop. With influences from Doc Watson to Django Reinhardt, from Fiddlin’ John Carson to the funky Meters, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem celebrates America’s past and takes it into the present. Of their signature style, Vancouver’s Rogue Folk Review wrote, “It’s as hard to classify as it is to praise highly enough…an intoxicating blend of roots music styles, with deep traditional roots and a healthy futuristic outlook. Strongly recommended.”

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem’s newest album, Some Bright Morning will be released on Signature Sounds in April of 2012. The band’s 2010 family album, Ranky Tanky (Mayhem Music), won top awards from the Parents’ Choice Foundation, National Association of Parenting Publications, and the American Library Association.

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem play festivals, performing arts centers and theaters from coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada. They specialize in multi-day residencies that include adult and family shows, as well as performances for under-served communities.