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Art & Music: Khu.éex’

An inside look at the music of Khu.éex', where Preston Singletary plays bass. 

Art & Music: Khu.éex'

The band Khu.éex' is the brainchild of artist Preston Singletary and legendary innovator Bernie Worrell (previously of Parliament-Funkadelic).

Khu.éex' features spoken word, Native storytelling, and singing, performed with an experimental approach with rock/funk aspects. Our band also performs in traditional regalia and NW coast masks.

Khu.éex' will be raising funds via an Indiegogo campaign starting on Monday February 1st 2016 and ending April 1st, 2016.

 

Contribute to our Indiegogo campaign to help bring Khu.éex's debut album, “The Wilderness Within” to life on double vinyl right now at: https://www.indiegogo.com/at/khuee

Share our story with your friends!

See the Indiegogo Campaign Video


Band Members

Bernie Worrell – Keyboards - (Cherokee) A respected elder who has African American and Cherokee ancestry. He has played with countless musicians over the years, but most notably as the founding member of the legendary Parliament-Funkadelic. He has previously played with the Talking Heads and has released many solo records over the years.

Preston Singletary – Bass - (Tlingit) Singletary has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. He is also involved with “A Little Big Band” a Native folk and soul band.

Captain Raab – Guitar - (Blackfoot) Raab has played in the band Red Earth, out of Albuquerque, which is a Native Funk rock band.

Clarissa Rizal –Vocals - (Tlingit) Rizal is a multi media artist and weaver who performs spoken word and can sing traditional Native songs. She has been essential in providing guidance in explaining the songs from a traditional context.

Gene Tagaban –Vocals - (Tlingit) Tagaban performs spoken word, traditional singing and storytelling, as well as playing flute. He is also an influential storyteller, trainer, speaker, mentor and performer within the community.

Skerik – Saxophone- An avant-garde sax player who plays in notable projects including Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois and NW supergroup Mad Season.

Stanton Moore – Drums - An accomplished drummer based out of New Orleans, and has played with a wide variety of musicians. Moore is also noted as the founding member of Galactic.

Nahaan –Vocals - (Tlingit) An up and coming Tlingit speaker who has been dedicating his time to learning the Tlingit language. He has been composing his own Tlingit songs and rhymes in Tlingit.

Randall Dunn - Producer, Audio Engineer - A highly respected producer who has worked with legendary jazz musicians such as John Zorn and Eyvind Kang.


Stay Connected & Share The Khu.éex' Story:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Koo.eex
Website: www.alittlebigband.com/#!khueex/c206u
Live performance video: https://vimeo.com/149459197

Contribute to the Indiegogo Campaign until April 1st , 2016: https://www.indiegogo.com/at/khueex

 

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes in the Hot Shop

A look at one of Preston Singletary's newest works.

It’s been a busy season in the hot shop so far. Here’s a behind the scenes look at Preston Singletary, Joe BenVenuto and Sean Albert as they work on a new Salmon piece.

 

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Killer Whale Totem

A view of one of the newest pieces by Preston Singletary, “Killer Whale Totem” created in lead crystal in a limited edition of 125 and standing at 18.25” high.

A view of one of the newest pieces by Preston Singletary, “Killer Whale Totem” created in lead crystal in a limited edition of 125 and standing at 18.25” high.


The Killer Whale is represented with its head near the bottom and the tail at the top of the totem, with the sides of the piece also depicting the pectoral fin.

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes: The Screen at The Walter Soboleff Center, Juneau, Alaska

New photos of the Soboleff Screen process!

Our friend and photographer Russell Johnson documented the first stages of the production of the screen for the Sealaska Heritage Insititute's Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau, AK. 

All photographs are copyright Russell Johnson.  Please ask permission for use.

 

   

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Preston Singletary’s Coppers

The artwork of Preston Singletary is rich with cultural symbolism. Here, we will help explain some of the artistic, spiritual, historical, and anthropological meanings behind some of Preston’s most recognizable works. This week is the copper shield form.

The artwork of Preston Singletary is rich with cultural symbolism.  He is often asked about the different forms and symbols used in the pieces he makes, so we are starting a blog series that will help explain some of the artistic, spiritual, historical, and anthropological meanings behind some of Preston’s most recognizable works.

 

Symbolic Wealth, 2009

 

For our first post, we will look at the Tináa, or Copper Shield form.  Preston has used it several times in various works throughout the years.   He references it as an item of clan treasure and symbolic wealth.

Family Story Totem (detail), 2013 and Family Story Totem, 2004

According to anthropologists, the copper shield form, or tináa, is ancient and possibly Asiatic in origin (dating from before the peoples now known as Native Americans crossed the land bridge more than 12,000 years ago).  They symbolized the wealth of the clan, both due to the monetary value of the copper and other supernatural meanings attributed to copper as it occurs in nature.  In many myths, the discovery of copper was tantamount to an encounter with a supernatural being.  Although copper was historically used only by a chief, myths sometimes portray the discoverer of copper as low in status, with their status rising when they find it.  The discovery of copper not only gives the finder tangible evidence of contact with the supernatural, but also manifests the element of luck, which has its own magical connotations.  The discovery of copper in its natural state ensured wealth.  Wealth was considered the outward manifestation of power, which was believed to be supernaturally endowed or acquired. 

Copper Totem, 2009

From Northwest Tribal Arts:

The "Copper" was used by the First Nations people as a form of money and wealth. It was made out of "Native" copper which was found in the land where they lived, and superficially resembled a shield. Considered very rare and hard to obtain, raw copper was traded from the Athabaskan Indians in the Interior Plains, or from the white man in later times.

Coppers were beaten into shape and usually painted or engraved with traditional designs. Most Coppers were fairly large, often 2 to 3 feet tall and a foot across.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Copper is that they were given names so that their worth and heritage could be passed on. A Copper was only worth what it was last traded for, and it could only be traded for a larger amount the next time around. Consequently, some Copper values became highly valuable - worth the total of 1,500 to 2,000 blankets, a couple of war canoes and hundreds of boxes and bowls.

No matter what the original value was the next person who wanted it had to trade more in exchange for it. Only the richest and most powerful could afford the price of an old Copper. Many Coppers were in rather shabby condition as a result of having been used in quarrels between Chiefs.

To the Kwakiutl, the ownership and display of a Copper became an essential for the proper conduct of a marriage or important dance ritual.

 

A man whose family's honour had been injured by the actions of remarks of another would publicly have a piece cut from a valuable Copper and give the piece to the offender. That person was obligated to cut or "break" a Copper in return. The broken pieces could be brought up and joined into a new Copper or used to replace pieces missing from a "broken" one.

The most valuable Kwakiutl Coppers tend to be rough and patched since they have the longest history and have been broken the most often. Coppers that have been broken have a certain prestige value that is quite independent from their monetary value.

Tináa, 2001

More information and discussion on Coppers can be found in this book, available online:
Coppers of the Northwest Coast Indians: Their Origin, Development and Possible Antecedents by Carol F. Jopling. 
 

Historical Image via the Canadian Museum of Civilization:

For nearly two years after his death, the body of Chief Skowl lay in state inside his house at Kasaan, Alaska. The burial chest, draped with a button blanket, is surrounded by storage chests filled with his regalia; beside the burial chest are his eight copper shields. The people in the photo are his slaves, who were displayed as part of his wealth.

Photograph by Albert P. Niblack, 1883

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