Two different styles produce a unique sound

BENNINGTON — Two musicians, one with an introvert personality and one with an explosive performing style, have come together with their string instruments to create a unique semi-folk duo.

Rani Arbo and Greg Ryan have performed traditional and cover songs as well as reflective original pieces for three years now. Ryan tones down his intense guitar playing while strumming beside Arbo and her light and sultry lyrics.

The duo will perform Sunday afternoon at the Universal Unitarian Fellowship Meetinghouse Cafe. Ryan plays the guitar and banjo and Arbo plays the guitar, fiddle and cello.

Arbo said that her partner's musical style has rubbed off on her over the years.

"It depends on the song, I'm a pretty quiet person — introvert," she said. "I'm not writing super big dance numbers, the covers in the show and the ones that Greg are singing have a higher octane. It's interesting to play with someone who puts that intensity into a very quiet song. With any kind of artistic endeavor, if you're working with another person, you just start to pick up on their... You vibrate with them. I might play a little more strongly."

She explained that the luxury of performing with another person allows for more flexibility. "It leaves me more room to move as a soloist," she said.

Ryan hails from a modern gypsy jazz group "They Might Be Gypsies" with his son Aidan as well as "The Queen City Hot Club." Arbo has managed and played in the quartet "Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem" for 25 years, which performs around 40 shows per year while on tour.

The two met after Ryan played with Arbo's husband in a band. Ryan resides in Rochester, N.Y. while Arbo lives in Connecticut.

The only difference between coordinating a quartet versus a duo, Arbo said, is tour dates. Ryan and Arbo generally share responsibilities for the short list of shows they schedule for the year. In Daisy Mayhem, the scheduling and decision making is more work, but the music making is the same.

"In rehearsal it's the same as a duo," Arbo said. "You figure out what you have and fit it together — that whole process is the same for me."

Arbo has toured and recorded with Joan Baez and John McCutcheon. On the side, she teaches at a university. Ryan works in construction.

Attendees can expect to hear a mixed folk-like genre ranging from Appalachian ballads to Ray Lamontagne.

The show starts at 3 p.m. on Jan. 15. Tickets are $15 or $10 for students. For more information visit

Reach staff writer Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471 or @MC_McGeeney.


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