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 among 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 2018, the triple LP “Héen” (which translates to “water” in the Tlingit language) was 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, cofounder 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, vocals), Skerik (sax/piano), Gene Tagaban (vocals/flute/hand drum), Captain Raab (guitar/vocals), Denny Stern (percussion), Tim Kennedy (keyboards), Ed Littlefield (drums/vocals), Sondra Segundo (vocals/hand drum), Arias Hoyle (vocals) and Jason Cressey (trombone).
Prior Members and Studio Contributors:
Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Clarissa Rizal (vocals/hand drum), Stanton Moore (drums/percussion), Nahaan (vocals/hand drum), Om Johari (vocals), Dave Abramson (percussion), Steve Nistor (drums/percussion), Hans Teuber (sax/bass clarinet/piano), Indrayani Ananda (vocals/hand drum), Stephen Blanchett (vocals), Carly Kienow (vocals), Davee C (drums), Eyvind Kang (viola), and Jason Kardong (pedal steel).
"The Wilderness Within", "They Forgot They Survived", "Heen", and "WOOch" produced, recorded, and mixed by Randall Dunn.
(Tlingit) Khu.éex’ co-founder Preston Singletary is also a glass artist who has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art.
(Cherokee) Khu.éex’ co-founder the late Bernie Worrell was a respected elder who had African American and Cherokee ancestry. He had played with countless musicians over the years, but most notably was the founding member of the legendary Parliament-Funkadelic. He has previously played with the Talking Heads and released many solo records over the years.
Segundo is a visual artist, storyteller, published author, educator, Haida language speaker, community advocate and a traditional dance group leader.
(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.
An avant-garde sax player who plays in notable projects including Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois and NW supergroup Mad Season.
Raab has played in the band Red Earth, out of Albuquerque, which is a Native Funk rock band.
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.
Arias Hoyle, who also goes by the name Airjazz, is a Tlingit language speaker, and rhymes in Tlingit and English. His Tlingit name is, “Yaw di néh”.
// Producer & Audio Engineer
A highly respected producer who has worked with legendary jazz musicians such as John Zorn and Eyvind Kang.
(Tlingit) The late Clarissa Rizal was a multi media artist and weaver who performed spoken word and sang traditional Native songs. She was essential in providing guidance in explaining the songs from a traditional context.
Additional & Past Members:
Tim Kennedy: Keyboards
Nahaan: Vocals/hand drum
Steve Moore: Trombone, Keyboards
Davee C. Carpenter: Drums, Percussion
Indrayani Barker: Vocals
Ed Littlefield : Drums
Denny Stern: Percussion
Hans Teuber: Sax & Keyboard