Not since Hohner released the Siamese Twins model harmonica in 1904 – or perhaps since Tod Browning’s 1932 film opus Freaks – has our advanced civilization had the unmitigated pleasure of being serenaded by a pair of congenitally joined twin girls who have mastered the piano, ukulele, and accordion, each twin contributing their respectively available hand toward playing duties.
Evelyn Evelyn changes all that, with an autobiographical vaudeville revue cum baroque Pop-Rock opera (don’t swallow with Pepsi!). It’s complicated.
EVELYN and EVELYN NEVILLE are a songwriting duo performing original compositions on piano, ukulele, guitar and accordion. The sisters are parapagus tripus dibrachius twins, sharing three legs, two arms, three lungs, two hearts and a single liver.
Born September 11, 1985 on a small farm on the Kansas-Colorado border, the Evelyns have traveled the greater part of North America performing with “Dillard & Fullerton’s Illusive Traveling Show”.
Their unique musical style is inspired by their many eclectic influences – from 80’s music to showtunes, Joy Division to the Andrews Sisters.
The sisters currently reside in Walla Walla, Washington. They are fluent in chicken and their favorite colors are purple and yellow.
In truth, Evelyn and Evelyn are none other than Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls) and auteur / accordionist Jason Webley, who in “real life” together discovered and produce the girls’ music, but on stage, play them (and their music).
Paraphrasing Webley, the result sounds like something the Andrews Sisters might have recorded if they had grown up in the circus listening to new wave.
The bizarre story traces the progress of the pair through the horrified reaction of a community at their tragic birth through the inauspicious death of their parents, through their adoption by chicken farmers and their early years living in (yes, in) the coop, to the unwelcome attention of “uncles” who don’t exactly have their best interests at heart, to their befriending by a pair of sympathetic elephants (Bimba and Kimba, the world’s only known congenitally conjoined elephants), to their time-bending discovery by Palmer and Webley in the crevices of MySpace (yes MySpace).
In one of the production’s more playful and hopeful moments, the girls pay tribute to Bimba and Kimba:
But it’s not all kettle corn and roses for the hapless girls. In the midst of their childhood ordeal, the two Evelyns find themselves at the center of a cultural rift as a pair of radical groups vie for their fate. FASTEN – the Foundation for Always Separating Siamese Twins Everywhere Now, wants the girls cut apart — by chainsaw if necessary. Meanwhile SPLIT – the Society for Preservation of Linked Identical Twins, lobbies to keep them together. The tension between these factions gives new meaning to the over-covered Joy Division track “Love Will Tear Us Apart…” which the twins perform deftly, one twin on chords, the other strumming (though stage shows do reveal an unexplained third hand emerging from between an oversized frock to buoy the body of a shared ukulele).
Is it rock opera? Vaudeville? Baroque? Pop? On their Facebook page, the troubadours list as influences “Jesus Christ Superstar, The Andrews Sisters, Joy Division.” It’s all there. Wait till you’ve got a long drive in front of you and can take in the whole thing at once – this is not something to consume piecemeal, or in random rotation.
Unofficial fan video (graphical content warning!)
Behind the Music