Elizabeth LaPrelle

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle singing the ballad 'Lord Bateman' with a 'crankie.'
Laura Candler

When traditional Appalachian musician Anna Roberts-Gevalt first showed ballad singer Elizabeth LaPrelle a crankie, Elizabeth was speechless.

“I really freaked out,” LaPrelle said. She was astounded not only because she had never seen one before, but also because it was such a powerful tool for storytelling.

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle
annaandelizabeth.com

While many popular musicians today seek out the newest digital technology to enhance their performances, there’s a young musical duo from rural Virginia who are moving in the opposite direction. Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle call themselves simply “Anna and Elizabeth.”  Both accomplished traditional Appalachian musicians on a variety of instruments, together they have resurrected a storytelling tradition called the “crankie,” whose technology outdates their combined age (which is 50).