Rani Arbo & Greg Ryan duo
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Rani Arbo & Greg Ryan duo

Middletown, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFM

Middletown, Connecticut, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
Duo Americana Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, Some Bright Morning"

The expression “tight har­monies” could have been coined to describe New England–based Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem—just listen to the four-part mastery on Some Bright Morning’s “Hear Jerusalem Moan” and “Fire in the Sky” for proof. Arbo (fiddle) is blessed with an unmistakable voice, both light and sultry, with a hint of a tremolo and smoke that nicely balances the three male voices in the group (Scott Kessel, percussion; Andrew Kinsey, bass and banjo; Anand Nayak, guitar). But singing is only one of the group’s outstanding talents. The band shape-shifts through roots styles with aplomb (described by band members as “agnostic gospel revival”) in a mix of traditionals, covers, and originals, displaying the kind of relaxed virtuosity only achievable by the best players. As if this weren’t enough, Ray Bonneville (harmonica) plays off Kessel’s masterful percussive effects on “Travelin’ Shoes,” and Mark Erelli contributes spellbinding lap steel on three songs, including the lovely “Bridges.” Guitarists will especially appreciate arrangements that allow ample space for Nayak’s impressive artistry on both electric and acoustic guitars. He adds bluesy finesse to Kinsey’s luscious bass on “Will Your House Be Blessed” and “Little Johnny Brown,” and on “East Virginia” he employs drone-like repeated notes and an unexpected Middle Eastern–sounding interlude to complement Arbo’s achingly exquisite fiddle. Effortless and loose, Some Bright Morning is simply gorgeous. It’s the group’s best yet. (Signature Sounds) - Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Press quotes for Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem"

"[Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem's] live shows are something to see — a mini music festival of different styles filtered through the vibrant interaction of all four players." — Dirty Linen

"Playful and profound" — The Boston Globe

"One of America's most inventive string bands" — The Boston Herald

"Playful and profound." — The Boston Globe

"Explodes with energy and relaxed good humor... a heady and very tasty new musical brew. Drink up!" — Vintage Guitar Review

"A reminder that musical categories are a necessity for catalogs and record stores, not for lovers of music." — Sing Out

- various

"Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem"

In 1991, nine years before "O Brother, Where Art Thou" made the world safe for old-time acoustic music, and about a dozen years before groups like the Duhks and the Mammals added their youthful gloss of hipness to a burgeoning movement, another animal-kingdom ensemble, Salamander Crossing, out of Northampton, Mass., got the jump on the whole string-band revival thing with a folk- and rock-influenced hybrid it called "amphibious bluegrass."

Although that band gave up the ghost in 1999, its lead singer and fiddler, Rani Arbo, immediately formed a new quartet, Daisy Mayhem, which continues to bring freshness and excitement to a genre that could easily succumb to terminal trendiness.

"I laugh about it," Arbo said by phone from her Vermont home, "because when Salamander did a showcase at IBMA (the International Bluegrass Music Association convention) in 1995, we got comment slips that said, 'This band needs to decide if it's a bluegrass band or a folk band,' and 'It ain't bluegrass, but it beats the hell out of country.' We took all the negative comments we got as compliments."

Daisy Mayhem has just released its third album, "Big Old Life" (Signature Sounds), which reaffirms the harmony-singing group -- with guitarist Anand Nayak, bassist and banjo player Andrew Kinsey and percussionist Scott Kessel (who plays the Drumship Enterprise -- a drum set made up of a cardboard box, cat food cans, a Danish butter cookie tin and a suitcase) -- as one of the most song- and arrangement-oriented bands in a field overgrown with pyrotechnic, jam- and solo-conscious virtuosos. The new disc is packed with songs that ponder, probe and party around big issues that have arisen for the band members during the four years since their last album, including the birth of Arbo and Kessel's son, Quinn, and Arbo's successful battle with stage II breast cancer.

The CD's bookend tracks, Sean Staples' "Joy Comes Back" and Daisy May Erlewine's "Shine On," are songs the band heard performed at festivals. In between are three philosophical Arbo originals ("Roses," "Hole in Heaven" and the title tune), Jim McGuinness' slow-moving "Thief," a jaunty treatment of Bob Dylan's "Farewell, Angelina" and Leonard Cohen's consoling "Heart With No Companion."

"We've always gone for songs that can be more than one story, depending on who's listening to them," Arbo said. "We heard 'Joy Comes Back' just before I was diagnosed, and it related perfectly to my cancer, but it could relate to any universal human experience, like a divorce or death, because they're not simple experiences. But it's funny how, going for all these complex universal-type songs, we've sort of ignored the most complex universal emotion of all, which is romantic love. There's not a love song on the record -- not one, and I didn't realize that until my mother heard the record and said to me, 'You should be singing more love songs.' "
- San Francisco Guardian


Some Bright Morning (April 2012, Signature Sounds)
Ranky Tanky family CD (2010, Mayhem Music)
Big Old Life (2007, Signature Sounds)
Gambling Eden (2003, Signature Sounds)
Cocktail Swing (2000, Signature Sounds)



Rani Arbo & Greg Ryan duo is a fun, intricate, and soulful combination of two master musicians with great alchemy. It's a side project — a rare flower that blooms only a few times a year, but brings its players (and audiences!) a sustaining and memorable musical experience. The show features Arbo’s wry, reflective originals, as well as traditional and cover songs, from Appalachian ballads to Ray Lamontagne, Darryl Scott, and others. Acoustic Guitar Magazine writes, “Arbo is blessed with an unmistakable voice, both light and sultry, with a hint of tremolo and smoke.” Together with Ryan’s rich, gravelly singing and emotive, powerful guitar, the duo swings from subtle fingerstyle to high-octane swing, to fiddle-driven, high-speed songs of love and loss.

Rani Arbo is a fiddler, guitarist, songwriter and song collector. She has toured nationally for more than 25 years, with Salamander Crossing, John McCutcheon, Joan Baez, Mark Erelli, Brooks Williams, and others; for the last 15 years she has led Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, an Americana quartet that has released five CDs on Signature Sounds and tours folk festivals and performing arts centers from coast to coast.  

Greg Ryan is an accomplished musician and performer, having toured for years as a singer/songwriter before forming the modern gypsy jazz group They Might Be Gypsies with his son Aidan. Their two recordings received rave reviews, with their debut album winning the Vermont Times Argus' Instrumental Album Of The Year. In addition to playing with They Might Be Gypsies, Greg performs with the gypsy jazz group The Queen City Hot Club.