Five Firsts: Rani Arbo of Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem

Rani Arbo
Rani Arbo

Photograph by Joanna Chattman

NAME: Rani Arbo
BAND AFFILIATION: Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
INSTRUMENT: vocals, fiddle

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … I don’t remember having money to buy records as a kid, but I do remember being given an Eagles record — the blue one with the skull on the cover — which was very different from what my parents had on their shelves. I also somehow landed a copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall in eighth grade, as well as a Simon & Garfunkel album or two. I listened to a lot of my parents’ folk music collection as a young kid — usually after building a fort around the stereo system with chairs and blankets.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … UB40, Beacon Theater, New York City, 1985. I went with a high school girlfriend who was six feet tall and gorgeous, so we got invited to the after-party at (drumroll, please) Studio 54. It was an epic night.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … a recorder, followed by a cello. I stuck with that through the end of high school, and then gave it up (which I now regret). I started playing fiddle in college, after hearing a concert of solo fiddlers and falling in love with the bluesy, improvised sounds they were getting. Been hooked ever since.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Probably a 17th century English motet. I was a chorister at a New York City cathedral starting at age seven.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Salamander Crossing, a crossover bluegrass-folk band that ran from 1992 to 2000. After we broke up, some of us continued on as Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem — trading the banjo for a recycled percussion kit, but still mining old songs and writing our own.

Rani Arbo leads her band daisy mayhem – an inventive string band with serious vocal firepower and unorthodox percussion – into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Friday (November 8). Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers opens the show at 8pm. Tickets are $18 in advance; $20 at the door; $10 children & students.

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