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Violinist enjoys musical journey

Bermuda’s travelling musician: Taylor Rankin

Travelling the world while pursuing your passion is something many of us can only dream of but Bermudian musician Taylor Rankin is doing just that.

Since he left his Island home six years ago, the talented violinist/vocalist has been touring the States, Europe and the Middle East exploring each country’s culture through its people, music and food.

Along the way he has performed as part of a number of different collaborations including the reggae/hip hop infused music that Bermudians will be familiar with under the name Taylor Rankin and his Violin Leroy. He also performs in a violin and guitar duo Mammanrankin, a Swiss collaboration with a hang drum called Rankinabergel, and in a partnership with Danish band Mammut is in Love.

His work has seen him perform at prestigious venues such as the Cairo Opera House and Kunsthaus in Switzerland where he currently lives.

He returned to Bermuda in the winter for a one-off performance at the Art Walk in St George’s and it inspired him to return and launch a three-day music event featuring himself and other local artists. He will be performing on June 19 at the Bermuda Society of Arts, on June 26 at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo and June 27 at Chewstick. There will also be a less formal performance at Tobacco Bay on June 28.

“The idea is three nights and 12 guest artists. You are going to get up into my weird imaginative world. It is a combination of reggae and hip hop rhythms. We are getting intimate and showing you the violin like you have never seen it before.”

He wants to keep the guest artists a surprise but did reveal that Roddy Nesbitt and Joy Barnum are on the list.

Mr Rankin started his musical journey busking at the age of 12 working with well-known choreographers and since then he has toured, recorded or opened for artists including Wyclef, Mary J Blige, Erykah Badu, Jasmine Sullivan and, a little closer to home, Collie Buddz and Heather Nova.

His first stop after leaving Bermuda was New York but since then his journey has taken him to many places.

“When I left Bermuda I had finished my first album and headed to the States but when I went to Europe I got more emotional and wanted to explore writing with emotion and writing songs with verse and chorus. In New York I met a band called Mammut is in Love from Denmark and we became good friends. I knew I was heading to Europe so met up with them in Copenhagen and I ended up ping-ponging back and forth there and eventually lived there for two years.

“The cold weather eventually got to me and my friend was living in Israel. He said come here come and swim with dolphins and so I went to Israel. I was supposed to be there for two weeks but I stayed for two months and we wrote an album together in 2013. I adventured and explored this place where there is so much controversy and we explored a lot of themes in our lives – we were like two men talking about love, loss and all these amazing things.

“Then I met love in Zurich so came and lived here travelling between Zurich and Israel and Egypt.

“The exciting part of this is going into these cultures and getting to know them, especially through their music and food. Being on the Israeli side is one thing, you are safe in essence but we saw the rockets exploding above us in Tel Aviv. I recently went to Palestine to see the other side.”

After his concerts in Bermuda, Mr Rankin will be touring through Switzerland, Germany and France.

Aside from his music he is also giving lectures on improvisation, some advertising and jingle work and he is working on an idea for a touring music festival based on a theme park concept. For tickets visit: http://www.premierticketsglobal.com/Event/1956/Taylor-Rankin-his-Violin-Leroy