BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT – ” The Land, The Water, The Sky “

Posted: January 5, 2023 in MUSIC

Black Belt Eagle Scout’s forthcoming album, “The Land, The Water, The Sky”, is out February 10th. As previewed in lead single “My Blood Runs Through This Land,” the album is a love letter to indigenous strength and healing, and a story of hope, as it details the joy of returning. Today, Black Belt Eagle Scout presents a new single/video, “Nobody,” a song uplifting representation, nestled comfortably in an album about home.

Thrumming percussion gives way to swelling licks of electric guitar, and in the more mellow moments, Katherine Paul’s voice resonates: “Nobody sang it for me like I wanna sing it to you.” The “Nobody” video was filmed and edited by Evan Benally Atwood, and continues to build on the ongoing creative collaborations between Atwood and Paul.

Of the song, Katherine Paul says: “When I was growing up, I didn’t have very many Native role models to look to on TV or the radio. It was within my own community that I found inspiring role models through our elders and our community leaders.

With Native representation in music and television slowly growing, I often ask myself where I stand within representation in music and how I want to be seen. This song is about the relationship I have with my own representation in music. A day spending time with family and the land are what brings Indigenous joy within the music video for “Nobody.” We see the love that Indigenous families have and the laughter that brings us together. Evan’s work in capturing the meaning of kinship is incredible.”

“I love the chorus,” says Evan. ““Nobody sang it for me like I wanna sing it to you” to me, it says a lot and inspired this idea of seeing three generations of women care for each other and create joy together. It is healing experience to spend time with the land and laugh with family.”

This land runs through Katherine Paul’s blood. And it called to her. In dreams she saw the river, her ancestors, and her home. When the land calls, you listen. And KP found herself far from her ancestral lands during a time of collective trauma, when the world was wounded and in need of healing. In 2020 she made the journey from Portland back to the Skagit River, back to the cedar trees that stand tall and shrouded in fog, back to the tide flats and the mountains, back to Swinomish.

It is a powerful thing to return to our ancestral lands and often times the journey is not easy. Like the salmon through the currents, like the tide as it crawls to shore this is a story of return. It is the call and response. It is the outstretched arms of the people who came before, welcoming her home. “The Land, The Water, The Sky” is a celebration of lineage and strength. Even in its deepest moments of loneliness and grief, of frustration over a world wrought with colonial violence and pain, the songs remind us that if we slow down, if we listen to the waves and the wind through the trees, we will remember to breathe. 

There is a reimagining of Sedna who was offered to the sea, and a beautiful rumination on sacrifice and humanity, and what it means to hold the stories that work to teach us something. 

Chord progressions born out of moments of sadness and solitude transform into the islands that sit blue along the horizon. The Salish Sea curves along her homelands, and when the singer is close to this water she is reminded of her grandmother, how she looked out at these same islands, and she’s held by spirit and memory. 

This is a story of hope, as it details the joy of returning. Katherine Paul’s journey home wasn’t made alone, and the songs are crowded with loved ones and relatives, like a really good party. And as the songs walk us through the land it is important we hover over the images and the beauty, the moments that mark this album as site specific. The power of this land is woven throughout, telling the story of narrow waterways, brush strokes, salmon stinta, and above all healing. 

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