Published: 2:59 pm, Thu. Oct. 15th, 2015Updated: 2:56 pm
Sixteen years ago in New England, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem began their journey of brewing their own blend of song-based Americana music.
During their shows, they’re known for telling stories to the audience about their personal lives and how they overcome hardship. The quartet’s upbeat energy and genuine warmth reel the audience in and leave them with bright eyes and open hearts.
The quartet has never been to eastern New Mexico before this week. They’ll play a show in Clovis Thursday, then head down to the Pecos Valley, where they’ll play two shows today at the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center.
“We’ve been to other parts of New Mexico, like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but never to the eastern side,” said Arbo, frontwoman, fiddle and guitar player for the band. “We’re really excited about it.”
The band’s sound can be described as feel-good, folk-Americana music with an acoustic essence. They play fiddle, electric and acoustic guitars, upright bass, banjo, ukulele, and recycled percussion instruments such as tin cans, cardboard boxes, a vinyl suitcase, and packing tape tambourines.
“We’ve got this ‘jug-band style’ thing going on with a lot of four-part harmonies,” Arbo said. “We look like a string band, but we don’t play any purely instrumental music.”
Attendees who are familiar with bluegrass or folk music may recognize some of the tunes Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem play.
Along with some Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen covers they perform from time to time, they also play many familiar songs, such as “I’ll Fly Away,” the popular gospel song from the 1920s.
The band will be collaborating with the Artesia High School New Horizons Choir on three of their songs Friday at both concerts.
“We try and get the community involved wherever we go,” Arbo said. “It’ll be a lot of fun to perform with them.”
The folk quartet only performs songs they feel connected with. From love and relationship melodies to uplifting, human-spirit hymns to goofy tunes, their music is always moving.
“We’re going to be really uplifting,” Arbo said. “I can guarantee that.”
Next month will mark 11 years since Arbo beat breast cancer. At the time, she had a 6-month-old son and had already been in the band for five years.
“It really deepened our experience as a band and shifted our sound toward more spiritual and uplifting,” Arbo said. “The music kept me going.”
After Arbo was treated and declared cancer-free, she began to see the world quite differently.
“It’s a cliché, but when I was better, I felt so grateful to be healthy,” Arbo said. “The whole world was shining, and now I play music to help me maintain that feeling.”
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem will perform at 7 and 9 p.m. today at the Ocotillo. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online at www.artesiaartscouncil.com or at the OPAC box office.