Katherine Paul, aka KP, performs as Black Belt Eagle Scout, and her debut album, ‘Mother Of My Children’, was recorded in the middle of winter near her hometown, in Northwest Washington State.
Speaking of her music, KP says,
I wrote this album in the fall of 2016 after two pretty big losses in my life. My mentor, Geneviève Castrée, had just died from pancreatic cancer and the relationship I had with the first woman I loved had drastically lessened and changed.” Heavy and heartbroken, Paul found respite from the weight of such loss in the creation of these songs that “are about grief and love for people, but also about being a native person in what is the United States today.
She grew up in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, surrounded by a family with the focus on native drumming, singing, and the arts. One of her earliest memories was of singing and dancing at her family’s own powwow, which was called the All My Relations Powwow. Music proved to be a clear path for her to take, and with the support of her family and some bootleg Hole, and Nirvana VHS tapes, she taught herself how to play guitar and drums, while still a teenager.
Having this identity—radical indigenous queer feminist—keeps me going. My music and my identity come from the same foundation of being a Native woman.
In 2007 KP moved to Portland, Oregan, where she attended college, and became involved with the Rock’n’Roll Camp For Girls. Eventually she got into the city’s thriving music scene, playing guitar and drums in bands, all of which eventually forged her image as Black Belt Eagle Scout.
On ‘Mother Of My Children’, the songs interweave to capture the enduring and yet fleeting experiences of loss, frustration, and dreaming. Although the musical structures are traditional, KP doesn’t follow any particular format lyrically, apart from what feels right to her in the moment.
Her song, ‘Indians Never Die’ calls out to colonisers and those others who don’t respect the earth. The video was filmed on the ancestral lands of the Chinook, Chinnuk Wawa, and Tillamook tribes, and is a video of exquisite beauty. We see KP quietly meandering the coastline of the Pacific Northwest, while evergreens and fog merge into the waters below. She harks back to her heritage by wearing clothing representing her tribe, while at the same time, looking like a contemporary indie rock artist from Portland.
You can find out more about this fascinating artist on her official website.