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Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Tech Choir perform an American spiritual

December 16, 2016
Rani Arbo, Andrew Kinsey, Scott Kessel and Anand Nayek perform during the “American Spiritual” performance at Howard Auditorium on Dec. 8. – Photo by Brian Blakely

Rani Arbo, Andrew Kinsey, Scott Kessel and Anand Nayek perform during the “American Spiritual” performance at Howard Auditorium on Dec. 8.
– Photo by Brian Blakely

Dillon Nelson
Staff Reporter | djn005@latech.edu

 

Eclectic sounds of uplift and Americana filled Howard Auditorium the night of Dec 8.

 

New England-based folk group Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem joined forces with the Louisiana Tech Choir for the revival-styled “American Spiritual.” The songs performed for the concert ran the gamut of American musical influences and included intermittent spells of storytelling from the band members.

 

Rani Arbo, lead singer and fiddle player, said she and her band like to set these types of concerts up whenever they find local talent which is able to set itself apart. She said allowing local talent to join them on stage makes for a great way to truly connect with the communities in the towns they visit.

 

“We love looking for local choirs wherever we go,” Arbo said. “It sounds fantastic having 30-plus singers backing our songs up, and we thought Louisiana Tech’s choir prepared well and performed beautifully tonight.”

 

Andrew Kinsey, bassist and banjo player, said the band used this concert to debut several songs from the band’s recently released Christmas album, “Winterstrong,” live. He said the band’s goal when writing and composing songs for the album was to make them hard to pin down as exclusively Christmas songs.

 

“It’s a subtle difference, but we want to seem more like we’re singing in the general spirit of Christmas rather than singing Christmas songs,” Kinsey said. “Instead of making sure we cover all the classics and merely entertain the audience for a couple of hours, we wanted to perform songs that would linger outside of the concert and get people through the holidays.”

 

Miranda Howland, a sophomore elementary education major, said she wanted to make the most of the solo she was allowed during a performance of “Oil in my Vessel,” which was the last song of the show.

 

“I just added as much soul as I could,” she said. “To do that, I really just tried to listen to the lyrics and connect with what they were trying to say.”

 

Bethany Cardenas, a junior vocal performance major, said the band’s greatest attribute was how cohesive their style and sense of showmanship is despite the wide range of influences they attempt to draw from. She said she noticed how especially comfortable they were on stage together.

 

“They were always looking at each other and making sure they were in sync as much as possible,” she said. “They also took time in between songs to tell little stories which I think really helped prep the listener and enrich the songs.”

 

Cardenas said this event allowed the choir to perform in a more contemporary manner than it usually does. She said her favorite part of the night was getting to join in on the composition the band created from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem “Crossing the Bar.”

 

“Out of all the songs performed tonight, this song had the smoothest melody,” she said. “The poem and the way it was performed was also just really moving and a good way to help end the night.”

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