Anna & Elizabeth
Anna & Elizabeth began thanks to a broke down car. Elizabeth LaPrelle’s. In town to see a concert, Elizabeth ended up spending the night with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, but the two didn’t get much sleep. They shared songs and harmonized; they talked about a shared desire to inspire people with the beautiful soul of Appalachian roots music. And then came Anna’s crankies: cloth and cut-paper scrolls depicting scenes from ballads. A friendship was formed. The possibilities were seen. A unique sound was created: Elizabeth with her powerful, breath-taking voice; Anna with her sweet harmonies and mesmerizing instrumentals on fiddle, banjo and guitar.
They started making crankies and shadow puppets together. Unlike anything you’ve seen, works of art that have been heralded in folk festivals from Seattle to Chicago, from deep in the mountains of Kentucky to Uzbekistan. The pair is reviving a lost art.
Their show is a captivating mix of ballads, foot-stomping dance tunes, stories and visual art. It’s a throwback, honoring the cultural and musical heritage from the hollows and old-time musicians gone but not forgotten. Their performance is unique, unforgettable. They’ve performed in house parlors and art museums, theaters in Lexington and Brooklyn and Asheville, shows in New Orleans and Boston, always with a startling professionalism and intimacy.
Their music comes from a heartfelt commitment to the mountain music tradition. Anna and Elizabeth have immersed themselves with old (and young) masters and folklorists, playing on porches and in kitchens, staying up all night to learn just one more song. Each used college to dive deep into history and archives, reading folklore and stories, listening to scratchy records of haunting voices, learning from relatives of long-gone greats. Their music has evolved; raw, sparse ballads, sweet lullabies, driving fiddle tunes and banjo songs, home music where less is more. Elizabeth’s remarkable deep mountain voice and Anna's modern one, an uncanny blend create a unique combination.
"They came to NPR and brought many of us to tears with some of the most yearning harmonies I've heard at the Tiny Desk. These songs are given few embellishments — sometimes a fiddle is added to a single voice, sometimes a banjo or guitar chimes in — but always the power is in the sparseness. If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, take a deep breath and soak it all in." Bob Boilen, NPR Music
For more information and tour dates please visit Anna & Elizabeth's official site.
Anna & Elizabeth Recordings from Free Dirt Records: