The OA is thrilled to pair our South Carolina Music Issue announcement with an exclusive premiere of a new song from Ranky Tanky, the acclaimed Charleston band reviving the Gullah musical tradition of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. “Beat Em Down” is the title track from the band’s new EP, due out on Friday, and will be included on their upcoming album, Good Time (out July 12, 2019), the band’s first to include original compositions written in the Gullah tradition.
Check out the exclusive premiere of “Beat Em Down” from Charleston’s Ranky Tanky:
The Oxford American’s South Carolina Music Issue will celebrate the unforgettable stories, songs, and artists that convey the deep history and continuing vitality of South Carolina’s music—including icons like Dizzy Gillespie, Eartha Kitt, and the Marshall Tucker Band, as well as contemporary voices, such as Iron & Wine, Toro y Moi, Shovels and Rope, and, of course, Ranky Tanky.
As always, the music issue will come with a sampler compilation of songs spanning the 78-rpm era to the present (in CD and digital download formats), with accompanying liner notes included within the magazine.
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Alex Steyermark’s feature films, Prey for Rock & Roll (2003), One Last Thing…(2006), Losers Take All (2013) and documentary The 78 Project Movie (2014) have been acclaimed at dozens of U.S. and International film festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, SXSW and BFI London, and are distributed throughout the world. He is a creator, producer and the director of the ongoing critically acclaimed music documentary web series, The 78 Project, which was an official selection at the inaugural Cannes Cross Media Corner and the British Film Institute's Power to the Pixel Cross Media Forum. He is an adjunct professor in the graduate film program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he is the founder of the ASCAP/Columbia Film Scoring Workshop.
Lavinia Jones Wright is a journalist, actor, filmmaker, and musician. With director Alex Steyermark, she traveled America recording musicians on a 1930s-era 78 rpm disc-cutting machine coproducing, writing for, and appearing in The 78 Project Movie and The 78 Project web series. She currently appears on Showtime’s The Affair. A Philadelphia native, she resides in Brooklyn.
The story Bassekou Kouyaté wants to tell is simply this: it was cotton that brought the blues from Mali to America, and it was the ngoni—the West African lute that is a predecessor to the banjo—that brought the songs. Kouyaté would like to make a film about this story—one told, for a change, from an African perspective.