Ranie Ribeiro's 10 picks for a world of golden beauty
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more humble, yet superbly talented artist than the Rotterdam-based Ranie Ribeiro. The producer, composer, harpist, and DJ has been a firm fixture in the Dutch music scene for years, with a release catalogue spanning across a number of well-respected labels such as Dekmantel, Nous’klaer Audio, United Identities, and Super-Sonic Jazz. His sound is marked by a genre-less versatility, where warm, punchy kicks, smooth chords, and mesmerizing harp melodies all find common ground.
Ranie’s mood list reflects a deep-rooted admiration and sense of gratitude for some of the artists who’ve not only inspired him, but have sparked the most profound sense of awe.
On his picks, he notes, “What makes life so beautiful is how we can always appreciate the smaller things in life that brings us joy. For some, it’s the music that is golden. These are songs and albums that I have found over the years and really grown into loving. I think I even can go as far as saying that these albums would describe a part of my personality.”
Toumani Diabaté - Kaira
Sometimes you will find a musician that not only knows his instrument by heart, but also manages to tell a great story with it. That’s the case when I listen to Toumani Diabaté’s music. I especially relate to this song, as he invites you to his world and background which feels close to my home country, Cape Verde.
Ravel, Debussy - Solos for Harp
One of the songs that my teacher in harp class told me to study was “Dances For Harp And Strings” written by Debussy. What stuck with me is how beautifully it all flows together, which is fitting to its name of course, but to me it’s the elegance and the purity of all the emotions that this composition grasps to.
Various - Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Original Soundtrack)
A short, but beautifully written composition by Jon Brion for the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I would recommend this film just for the original compositions that Brion did. If I would ever write a score for a movie, I would take a lot of inspiration from this, as the songs really move so well with the burdens that the characters have to deal with. What I especially like about this is that it doesn’t want to be epic or have a grand finale ending. It just flows.
Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians
In the middle of the pandemic, I slowly started to dive a bit deeper into Steve Reich’s music and his world of minimalism. This album Music For 18 Musicians in particular really struck me as a producer, as it slowly builds and builds, and every element that comes in brings a new emotion, while it still focuses on the chord of that section.
Kelan Phil Cohran and Legacy - African Skies
This is a very special record to me. I sincerely believe that this album is one of the reasons that I play harp and have the playing style that I have today. Unfortunately I was never able to buy the album on vinyl, since the prices of this record have skyrocketed after Phil Cohran’s death in 2017. What I like about this album and what it has in common with Toumani Diabaté’s Kaira and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians is that it combines the structures of minimalism and the feeling of being close to my home country together without trying to copy anyone. It is very beautifully written. I truly hope that this album gets a proper re-issue one day.
Michael Franks - The Art of Tea
I’ve been a long time fan of Michael Franks. I found this record almost 10 years ago during a garage sale for a few bucks, and I didn’t know what it was, of course, but seeing Joe Sample from The Crusaders on keys, I knew it had to be something interesting. To this day, I’m very glad that I grabbed this record because it was a pleasant surprise to hear Michael Franks’ soft spoken voice on this, especially on this great song, “St. Elmo’s Fire.” His voice almost feels like a blanket that perfectly fits on a custom-made bed. So smooth.
Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man
Another soundtrack, this time by the great Marvin Gaye, and one of my favorites, too. This album barely has any singing going on by him, but focuses more on Gaye as a musician and producer. Most songs are produced and written by him, and it shows that even without him singing, he’s still a genius. Released in 1972, this song already relies heavily on the synth bass, and it’s very impressive how well this works so early on with the keys and drums. It’s the perfect base for hip-hop producers a few decades later.
Idris Muhammad - Power of Soul
This is a typical groove that keeps on giving. What immediately grabbed my attention when I picked this up was the album cover and the fact that Bob James conducted and arranged on this record. And I was not disappointed, especially with the song “Piece Of Mind,” which reminded me a lot of “Nautilus” but had more emphasis on the drums, played by Idris Muhammad. Though what really makes this a great record are the solos done by Grover Washington and Bob James. It’s the cherry on top!
Kyle Hall - Worx Of Art
Kyle Hall was only 16 years old when he made this, but this is really a timeless classic in my opinion. For the longest time, I had no idea how this song was pieced together, because it didn’t make sense in the “traditional” way of producing, but when I asked Hall about the work process of this song, he didn’t know either. I think that’s the beauty of this—to create something without overthinking it and to just have fun. It never grows old.
Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force - Walo Walo
This is probably one of my favorite collaborative projects between DJ and producer Mark Ernestus and 12 amazing musicians from Senegal, creating “Ndagga Rhythm Force.” What I specifically like about this project is the combination of techno mixed heavily with guitar and percussion, creating this polyrhythmic work. What makes this so great is that the musicians have full creativity while Ernestus mixes it perfectly together into a song. The engineering on this album is superb!