Raylene Rankin began singing at concerts and festivals at the tender age of four. In her teens she sang lead vocals with the band at concerts, dances and weddings.
During her university years, Raylene spent her summers performing in Cape Breton and with the Newfoundland Stephenville Festival. She followed her Bachelor of Arts degree with a law degree from Dalhousie.
Raylene's vocal talents range from her haunting interpretation of the unofficial Cape Breton anthem, "Rise Again," to the rollicking "Gillis Mountain," one of her own compositions.
When The Rankin Family was formed in 1989, Raylene and John Morris managed the group through its first two years and two successful recordings - keeping the books, organizing tours and promotions and all the while maintaining their busy performing schedule.
"I'm proud to be a member of the group. The more we work and...achieve together, the better it gets."
Where to Hear Raylene Sing Lead:
For more than ten years, Raylene Rankin's sweet, pure voice joined those of her brothers and sisters as part of the internationally acclaimed Canadian recording act, "The Rankin Family". At the height of their popularity, the group toured the world and sold more than two million albums.
Raylene is "the voice" of the Rankin Family's hit song "Rise Again". She is also the author of "Gillis Mountain", a song that achieved top five status on radio in Canada, and became a hit in the United Kingdom.
Raylene left her family's band in 1998 to devote her time to raising her young son. However, she's never really stopped performing.
As a solo artist she toured Atlantic Canada in the fall of 2004 and Western Canada in spring 2005 with guest artist Archie Fisher. Raylene was featured at the prestigious Festival D'Ete in Quebec City, as well as Cape Breton's famed festival, Celtic Colors. Additionally, Raylene frequently performs as a solo artist at private functions and conventions.
"Lambs in Spring", Raylene Rankin's first solo recording, follows more than a decade of impressive musical collaboration. As well as touring for almost ten years as a member of the Rankin Family, she and her sisters, Cookie and Heather, have been busy.
In the fall of 1999, pop superstar Carly Simon invited Raylene and her sisters to her home studio in Martha's Vineyard to add their special harmonies to her CD "Bedroom Tapes". The trio appears on five tracks of the album, released by Arista Records.
From 1999-2001, Raylene and her sisters embarked on a Christmas tour with symphony orchestras coast to coast. Raylene's Christmas performances with her sisters continued in 2002, this time performing with their own band. The sisters have made their Christmas show a yearly tradition with tours in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In the fall of 2005 the sisters completed a Christmas special for Bravo television filmed on location in Mabou, Cape Breton.
In February 2005 Raylene with sisters Cookie and Heather, completed an eight-date tour in Southern Ontario performing both new material and songs from their Rankin family days.
When she's not on the road, Raylene lives in Halifax with her husband, Colin, and her son Alexander.
Above biography copyright Raylene Rankin.
Raylene Rankin holds a BA from St. Francis Xavier University, an LLB from Dalhousie University and was admitted to the bar in 1988 - but Nova Scotians will be forgiven if they are more familiar with her other pursuits as a founding member of the award winning group "The Rankin Family". Growing up in Mabou, Cape Breton, the Rankins began performing at local events and in 1989 released their debut self-titled album, "The Rankin Family", leading to years of successive albums and worldwide performances. Currently Raylene is the honourary spokesperson for the Feed My Lambs School Breakfast program run by the Berwick Interfaith Outreach Society and is a part owner with her sisters of the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou. She was the past honourary Chair for the Run for the Cure in Sydney from '99-'04 and was recognized in October 2007 with Adsum House's 'Successful Canadian Woman' Award for 2007.
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