Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ballads and Crankies at Buttonwood Tree Thursday Evening

ballads & crankies: a night of traditional music, collected stories and new illustrations

Community Variety Show and Shadow Puppet Extravaganza
with Anna & Elizabeth and Katherine Fahey

The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street. Middletown
Thursday, April 19, 2012,
7 pm
$5-10 Suggested Donation

Old time fiddler Anna Roberts-Gevalt, ballad singer Elizabeth LaPrelle and shadow puppeteer Katherine Fahey bring an innovative show to Middletown. They will share their innovative show that combines mountain stories, music, and illustrated scrolls called crankies, handmade of quilted cloth, of ink and linoleum prints and of candlelit paper cuts. 

Before the show begins, the trio will facilitate the audience in making Shadow Puppets (they’ll provide the paper and scissors!), which they’ll perform as part of the show—complete with sound effects, and an improvised musical score.

 The evening will open with a community variety show—musicians from the Middletown, and Wesleyan University, will share songs and stories from a number of musical traditions!

For more information, contact:
The Buttonwood Tree,, (860) 347-4957

Baltimore artist Katherine Fahey is a shadow puppeteer, singer, and printmaker, whose recent collaborations have brought shadow puppetry to the independent music scene, most notably her music video for Wye Oak.
Anna & Elizabeth, from Virginia, present sparsely arranged ballads, hymns, lullabies and rousing fiddle and banjo tunes that are deeply rooted in the stories and kitchen music of the mountains they call home. They have spent the past year collecting songs and stories of music and the mountains, which they have been sharing across Virginia and the US, recently focusing on the stories and music of ballad singers Addie Graham of East Kentucky and Texas Gladden of Virginia. 

Here's an example of Katherine Fahey's work for the group Wye Oak:  

And some of Anna and Elizabeth performing with a crankie:

And Anna and Elizabeth peforming:

The Crankies (links):
A crankie, also known as scrolling panorama, or crank box, is an old-fashioned hand-cranked scrolling device, illustrating a story or song. It's a box containing a ream of paper or fabric rolled around 2 posts, which is then pulled across the front, much like film in an old camera.
The Lost Gander:
The ballad of Lord Bateman:
Mrs. Whitmore’s Song:
Fish, by Wye Oak (music video):

Katherine Fahey, an artist and musician from Baltimore, is best known for her screen printing and paper cut work, and collaborative shadow puppetry. Her shadow puppet music video for Merge Record’s Wye Oak was premiered last year on NPR. She has been pursuing crankie-making for the past year, sharing her new crankies at puppet theaters, music venues, art and music centers and schools in Virginia and Maryland. “Kathy’s shadows and figures, made with so much care and detail, never fail to mesmerize, an intricate world of myth and memory.” 

Anna & Elizabeth have been collaborating, collecting stories, making crankies and performing together for the past year. They have recently brought their much-lauded show to the Seattle Folk Festival; The Blackpot Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana; Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina; The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in Ferrum, Virginia, and at schools, nursing homes, and small venues throughout Southwest Virginia. Both have been on faculty at traditional music schools in Appalachia, Washington State and in France. They write and direct a monthly live radio show in Floyd Virginia.

Fiddler Anna Roberts-Gevalt, a New England native who moved south to study to immerse herself in Appalachian music, was a grant-recipient for her research of female fiddlers at Berea College, and has studied with master Kentucky fiddlers Bruce Greene, John Harrod and Paul David Smith. “Anna will make you want to pick up everything and travel across the country, searching for inspiration everywhere you go. Then she will pick up her fiddle and take you there.”  

Elizabeth LaPrelle is an acclaimed ballad singer, and has released three solo albums and has appeared on Prairie Home Companion; she grew up singing with her family, and has since learned from many Appalachian ballad singers, including Sheila Kay Adams and Ginny Hawker. “Elizabeth will shake you to your very foundation with a voice which speaks of the mountains and valleys of southwest Virginia, where she is from.”


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