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The Rankin Family

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The Rankin Family is a Canadian folk music family group from Mabou, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

The Rankins come from a family of 12, all of whom would entertain the neighbours musically every third weekend as part of a ceilidh.

Five of the siblings began performing professionally in 1989. The Rankins released their own independent cassettes The Rankin Family (1989) and Fare Thee Well Love (1990) featuring original songs and a combination of traditional jigs, reels and Celtic folk songs. Their television debut was on the CBC variety show On The Road Again in 1989.

Their most successful album was EMI’s re-release of Fare Thee Well Love in 1992, which went quadruple platinum, selling over 500,000 copies; the title track was one of the year’s biggest Top 40 hit singles in Canada.

The group has won many Canadian music awards, including 15 East Coast Music Awards, 6 Juno Awards, 4 SOCAN Awards, 3 Canadian Country Music Awards and 2 Big Country Music Awards.

On September 17, 1999, the group issued a press release stating that they would no longer perform as a group in order to pursue independent interests and careers.

John Morris Rankin was killed in a car accident in Cape Breton on January 16, 2000.

Jimmy Rankin has continued to write songs and has released two solo albums: Song Dog (2001) and Handmade (2003).

In November 2006, it was announced that the four surviving Rankins — along with John Morris’s daughter Molly — would be releasing a new album and reuniting for a cross-Canada concert tour.

On June 3, 2012, Raylene Rankin appeared on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition where she spoke about her decade-long struggle with cancer. She died on September 30, 2012 at the age of 52.

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