Welcome to indigenous in Music! This week Larry welcomes Seattle Washington’s very own Tribal-Funk-Jazz fusion band “Khu.eex.’ Preston Singletary, bass and founding member is in the house to tell about the release of their 3rd album out called “Heen.” You can find them on the web at khueex.com.
Also music from Khu.eex, QVLN, Mimi O’Bonsawin, Tribalistas, Digging Roots, Frikstailers, La Yegros, Shauit, Sly Mestokosho, Eagel & Hawk, Brule, Gabriel Ayala, Jeremy Dutcher, Michael Bucher, Campo, Natalia Clavier, CHANCES, De Madrugada, Buggin Malone, Frank Waln, Ozomatli, Gary Small, The Bloodshots, Shawn Michael Perry, Crystal Shawanda, The Eagle and The Raven Band, Sihasin, Freightrain and much much more.
To Skip to Spotlight Interview, click forward two times to segment 3….Enjoy!
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Khu.éex’ is an Indigenous band full of creative members, including storytellers, activists and artists, that bring this collective energy to the stage as one powerful unit. Our focus is raising awareness of social issues, stemming from the Native American struggle, that branch out to serious issues that effect all people. We are bringing a much-needed Indigenous perspective while keeping our tribal culture and endangered ancient languages alive through music, storytelling and art.
We are members of the Tlingit, Haida and Blackfoot tribes. Some of us were raised in traditional villages with cultural knowledge and understanding of the protocols of the culture, while some of us were raised amongst the urban Indigenous community of the Pacific Northwest. No matter where we settle, we are keepers of cultural knowledge and language.
The Khu.éex Story
Khu.éex’ began as a recording in 2013 after a chance meeting between Bernie Worrell and Preston Singletary. Together with Skerik and Stanton Moore, Gene Tagaban and Clarissa Rizal we recorded under the direction of Randall Dunn. To date, Khu.éex’ has released a double album, “The Wilderness Within” and the triple LP “They Forgot They Survived”. In December 2018, the triple LP “Héen” (which translates to “water” in the Tlingit language) will be released. All albums were produced and released by the band independently.
In 2016 the band experienced the passing of two key original members. Bernie Worrell, keyboardist and co-founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic (also, co- founder of Khu.éex’). Bernie left this Earth June 24, 2016. The music created with Khu.éex’ are Bernie’s final collaborative efforts. We also lost Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit) to cancer in December of 2016. She was a teacher of Chilkat weaving, mentor, artist, poet and singer.
Losing two founding members of Khu.éex’ was devastating, but we were determined to rebuild the band and we found Edward Littlefield (Tlingit) a jazz drummer and composer who was also incorporating Tlingit melodies into his music. On Keyboards we developed a friendship with Tim Kennedy, a local Keyboard player, composer and improviser. On vocals is now Sondra Segundo (Haida) singer and composer.
The band explores Jazz and Funk/Rock with an improvisational style. The fusion of these styles with spoken word in English, Tlingit, Haida and Y’upic languages is unique. We are also striving to preserve these native languages though our music. This cross-fertilization results in a new sound. Performance art, using traditional masks and regalia accent the dynamic live performances.
Members of the band bring light to aspects and cultural perspectives of Indigenous people. Performances reach out to a wide demographic from very young to older audiences. The live performances are uplifting and include dancing with traditional masks.
The backgrounds of this collective of band members include engaging with communities in a variety of ways, whether close to home in the Pacific Northwest or globally.
Preston Singletary (Bass and founder of Khu.éex’) is a visual artist, glass sculptor, and teacher who renders traditional Tlingit forms in the non-traditional medium of glass. He has worked globally with Indigenous art communities and artists.
Sondra Segundo (Singer) is a visual artist, story teller, published author, educator, Haida language speaker, composer, community advocate and traditional dance group leader.
Nahaan (Singer/Storyteller) is a traditional artist and tattooist, political activist, Tlingit language instructor, and traditional dance group leader. His is an activist who has been a leader and organizer of events such as Standing Rock and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Gene Tagaban (Singer/Storyteller/Poet) is also a traditional storyteller, dancer, mentor, wellness and prevention spokesman, actor, comedian and composer.
Ed Littlefield (Drums/Percussion) is a composer, musicologist, multi- instrumentalist, theater production coordinator, and music instructor.
Captain Raab (Guitar) is a multi-instrumentalist, composer.
Khu.éex’: Upcoming Albums
The recording of Khu.éex’s upcoming third album, entitled “Héen” (water in the Tlingit language), coincided with critical events and issues affecting Indian Country (and the earth as a whole) including the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the endangerment of clean water in our communities. These events were on the group’s mind during creative sessions, which resulted in water being a conceptual connecting thread throughout the material.